John Oliver Blasts Amazon’s Warehouse Conditions in ‘Last Week Tonight’

While Amazon has made efforts over the last couple years to better their warehouse working environment, it is still a work in progress.

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Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations at Amazon tweeted his distaste for the latest episode of “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” when the humorous newscast called out Amazon’s warehouse conditions last Sunday.

Clark tweeted, “As a fan of the show, I enjoy watching John make an entertaining case for the failings of companies, governments and most recently – Mount Everest. But he is wrong on Amazon. Industry-leading $15 minimum wage and comprehensive benefits are just one of many programs we offer…” Oliver stated during the show that e-commerce is chipping away at brick-and-mortar retail sales.

“And it can seem like jobs are shifting, too,” Oliver said during the show. “The number of workers who lost their jobs at department stores like Sears and Macy’s and J.C. Penney since 2000 is about the same as the 444,000 hired by the warehousing industry. It’s as if warehouses are absorbing America’s lost retail employees, which initially sounds kind of nice doesn’t it.”

Oliver’s show centered on the rise of e-commerce and its convenience. However, he took a shot at Amazon, stating what actually happens in warehouses are a mystery unless Amazon gives you a “fun glimpse into one,” proceeding to play an Amazon-created video of its warehouses.

“The truth is, these jobs aren’t all dance offs and box hugging, they are physically hard…,” Oliver said. However, Oliver mentioned that Amazon is not the worst actor in this industry, stating that they generally don’t subcontract out their warehouses, and made headlines for raising workers’ minimum wage to $15.

“But being not the worst is a low, low bar, and they have huge influence here” Oliver said in the show. “When Amazon announced earlier this year that they’d be making one-day shipping standard for Prime members, Walmart immediately hinted that it would do the same. Amazon is basically the industry trend-setter.”

Oliver went on to say the conditions in Amazon warehouses are not as fun as they like to say and can be “physically draining.”

Clark wrote a series of consecutive tweets, stating Amazon was “proud of the safe, quality work environment in their facilities.” “So much so that we offer tours to the public, ages 6 and up.

But, unlike over 100,000 other people this year, John and his producers did not take us up on our invitation to tour one of our facilities,” Clark blasted back. He continued, “If they had they would have met the amazing people who work in our operations. People whose passion and commitment are what makes the Amazon customer experience special. I am proud of our team and to suggest they would work in an environment like the one portrayed is insulting.”

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