Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs is trying to turn around sagging sales at McDonald’s, and now his successor Jay Carney is defending Amazon from allegations that it makes workers cry.
The New York Times story alleged that the mega Internet retailers is “conducting a little-known experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers, redrawing the boundaries of what is acceptable” in a “punishing,” “bruising,” “extreme” environment.
“Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk,” one former employee told the NYT.
In his new role as Amazon senior vice president for global corporate affairs, Carney told CNN that the article was “way off base.”
“It doesn’t represent the company that I’ve worked for, for just five months, but the company that others that I work with have been at for a decade or more,” he said, adding the writers painted a “vision of a soulless dystopian workplace where people are miserable and unhappy.”
Amazon workers, he said, “like the fact, that unlike a lot of workplaces, including places I’ve worked, it is absolutely standard and expected to question everybody’s ideas and anybody can have a good idea. It doesn’t have to be the person at the top. It can be the person in the middle or the bottom.”
Carney was Obama’s press secretary from 2011-2014.
He argued that “150,000 new jobs wouldn’t be created and filled if people didn’t want to work at Amazon.”
“And when we’re talking about the white collar workforce, again, these are people who could work anywhere. And in some cases, at the most senior levels, these are people, because they have been so successful, who don’t have to work but they love coming to work at Amazon because it’s an innovative and creative place to be,” Carney continued.
He defended the fact that, unlike other online giants such as Netflix and Facebook, Amazon has no paid paternity leave. “But 83 percent of American companies don’t offer paid paternity leave. So, 83 percent of companies are where Amazon is. That doesn’t mean that’s ultimately the right policy, but that article left that fact out,” he said.
“…Right now, if you’re a qualified PhD in engineering or software developer, you can name — you can decide where you want to work. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter. The world is your oyster, right? And we have to compete to get those people. And they come to Amazon because it’s such a compelling place to be and people love to work there.”
Carney added that “one of the things that I marvel at about the story is, to suggest that people should come to Amazon if they want to work hard is somehow a bad thing.”