Inside Amazon - February 28th, 2020

Inside Amazon (Feb 28th, 2020)

AWS VP to leave / 3,200 drivers laid off / Amazon pulls one million products over coronavirus

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Thanks for being a regular reader of Inside Amazon. Each day, I dig deep into the corners of the internet to find the most interesting stories about Amazon, the brand, the business, the stories and the people who make it all happen. My goal is to save you, my readers, hours every week and to keep you informed on so much more than just the stories that make the front page. 

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1. Amazon Web Services VP Adam Bosworth announced yesterday on LinkedIn that he would be starting "a new adventure" and alluded to a project that is yet-to-launch that "has as much potential as any I’ve ever built," according to his post. Bosworth is leaving Amazon after four years there to work as an independent consultant with three clients. His previous experience includes working for Microsoft, Salesforce, and Google. GeekWire is relying on past reports and online clues that the project Bosworth referred to is "AWS for Everyone." The project was mentioned in court filings in 2017 when Amazon pursued a non-compete lawsuit against a former AWS executive. -- GEEKWIRE

2. Amazon will be laying off 3,242 drivers soon as a part of a larger restructuring wherein the company plans to rely more on smaller and cheaper delivery contractors. Thousands of drivers will lose their jobs by the end of April. While Amazon says it provides laid-off drivers the chance to apply for work with its other delivery contractors, one owner of an Amazon delivery firm that has not lost its contract told Buzzfeed News anonymously these may end up being dead-ends. "There are no jobs for these drivers to transition to,” said the owner. "They have nowhere to go." - BUZZFEED NEWS

3. A coalition of unions filed a 28-page petition yesterday asking the FTC to investigate Amazon's “immense and growing influence” in the economy. The group represents 5.3 million union members in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Communications Workers of America, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, and the Service Employees International Union. A number of issues were included in the petition including "depressing wages" where they are a major employer. -- CNBC

4. After sending warnings to sellers listing medical masks to not inflate prices or make misleading statements, Amazon pulled one million products from the site today that had false claims that they could cure or prevent coronavirus. It also has pulled "tens of thousands" of face mask listings for price-gouging. Amazon issued a statement citing the company's policy about pulling a product for description inaccuracy and when prices are "significantly higher than recent prices offered on or off Amazon.” -- NEW YORK POST

5. A former Amazon manager filed a lawsuit earlier this week against the company, alleging she was fired when she complained about being directed to "scour" job applicants' social media accounts to determine their race and gender. Lisa McCarrick is charging the company with retaliation, wrongful termination, failure to prevent discrimination, and violation of the California labor code. In a separate action, she is suing Amazon for violating California's Equal Pay Act, saying she was paid a significantly lower wage than male employees doing the same job. McCarrick was hired as a loss prevention manager in 2018 and was promoted five months later to a regional manager position. She filed a complaint with Amazon management in September of 2019 pointing out the pay disparity and the directive she had been given to ascertain applicants' personal information by trolling their Facebook and other social media accounts. In November, McCarrick was fired. --  NBC NEWS

6. Amazon has contracted with electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian to build 100,000 customized trucks that will be used for delivery and will eliminate cardboard boxes and other types of packaging. The project is part of Amazon's participation in Climate Pledge, an agreement between 154 companies who say they will reach the Paris Agreement's goal of being net zero carbon by 2040, a decade before the accord's goal of 2050. Rivian has designed three types of trucks that will be integrated into Amazon's logistics system. The fleet of 100,000 vehicles will begin operating next year. -- ZDNET

7. Building work has all but stopped at an Amazon fulfillment center in Beloit, Florida since union workers began picketing to protest that an out-of-state, non-union company has been hired to do roofing work on the project. The United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers No. 11 formed a picket line on Friday, Feb. 21, upon learning that the project developer, Ryan Companies, hired a roofing and contracting company from Tennessee. Along with the picketers, members of Ironworkers Local 498 and International Union of Operating Engineers 150 have stopped working as well. Union representatives, the developer, and Amazon have declined to comment. -- BELOIT DAILY NEWS

8. Business Insider has published a how-to guide, complete with screenshots, to help Amazon customers write the online reviews we've all become accustomed to seeing. Though you might not think "writing an Amazon review" requires a how-to guide, there are a surprising number of things you can do on Amazon's online community that you may not be aware of. Business Insider's guide gives a five-step process for writing and submitting, and points out that you can review a product on Amazon even if you have purchased it elsewhere. You can also change or delete reviews you've written if your experience changes. -- BUSINESS INSIDER

9. In the latest American Consumer Satisfaction Index, Amazon took back the lead from Costco in consumer satisfaction among internet retailers, with a score of 83 points on a scale of 100. Etsy followed with an 82 score. Overall, while consumers said there was “no improvement” among brick-and-mortar stores, satisfaction with internet retail continued to improve, growing 1.3% to 81 points. The annual ACSI report covers six categories that include internet retail, where Amazon fits. -- FOOTWEAR NEWS

10. B&H is selling a second-generation Amazon Echo Plus for $100 instead of its usual $130, which you can pick up here. Meanwhile, you can pick up an Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet for just $60 instead of $80, and the $150 kid's edition for $80.

Written and curated by Kathleen Walder, writer and humorist who co-hosts KatSoup, a weekly program on Ohio’s Radio Reading Service for the visually impaired and print disabled. Her blog, Date-a-palooza, takes a jaundiced look at the world of online dating. Follow her on Twitter @KatWalder.

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