Improving working conditions for employees at Amazon.

Vote occurred May 25, 2022.

The number of US warehouse workers has more than doubled, from 700,000 in 2012 to 1.8 million in 2022.1 According to the Occupation Safety and Health Administration, poor warehouse working conditions are increasing injury rates2 and employee churn at Amazon. Labor shortages are exacerbating supply chain hold-ups and costs.3

Why it’s relevant

Amazon employs one-third of US warehouse workers but is responsible for nearly half of its industry’s injuries.4 Reports of unsafe warehouse working conditions have drawn censure from public health officials,5 undermining Amazon’s mission to be “Earth’s Best Employer” and “Earth’s Safest Place to Work”6 and eroding consumer trust and employee morale. Amazon’s pre-pandemic churn rate was 150% per year,7 and with vacancies expensive to fill and thwarting Amazon’s ability to deliver on time, customers are dissatisfied.

The proposal

Shareholders requested that the Amazon Board commission an independent audit and report on working conditions and treatment of warehouse workers.8

The outcome

Although the proposal was unsuccessful, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has vowed to improve injury rates inside facilities,9 and Amazon is exploring using industrial robots to address vacancies in its fulfillment centers.10 Former Chair Jeff Bezos has admitted that Amazon needs “to do a better job”11 for its employees. As long-term investors, Engine No. 1 agrees that improving conditions in warehouses can increase Amazon’s retention rate, reduce all-in staffing costs, and improve on-time order fulfillment.

This proposal failed with 44% of the vote.