Someone should tell Jeff Bezos that charity begins at home

The founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos has said that he plans to give the majority of his wealth of $124 billion to charity, telling CNN “that he will devote the bulk of his wealth to fighting climate change and supporting people who can unify humanity in the face of deep social and political divisions.” He did not say when and how much and to whom he will give money away, so frankly I am going to wait and see if he actually follows through.

But here’s an idea. Why doesn’t he start by paying his workers decent wages and benefits and provide them with decent working conditions so that they are not forced to urinate in bottles because of the pace of work?

Amazon has apologised to a US politician for falsely denying that drivers are, at times, forced to urinate in plastic bottles.

Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Wisconsin, referenced Amazon making “workers urinate in water bottles” in a tweet.

The official Amazon Twitter account then replied: “If that were true, nobody would work for us.”

The company has now apologised after evidence emerged of drivers having to urinate in bottles.

Mr Pocan rejected the apology on Saturday, tweeting: “Sigh. This is not about me, this is about your workers – who you don’t treat with enough respect or dignity. Start by acknowledging the inadequate working conditions you’ve created for ALL your workers, then fix that for everyone and finally, let them unionise without interference.”

Also, why not pay his house staff a decent wage and give them decent conditions so that they are not forced to sue him?

Jeff Bezos is being sued by a former housekeeper who claims she was subjected to racial discrimination and forced to regularly climb out of a laundry room window to go to the toilet as she wasn’t allowed to enter the Amazon billionaire’s house except on “cleaning assignment”.

Mercedes Wedaa, who worked cleaning Bezos’s Seattle mansion for three years, claimed in a lawsuit filed in Seattle state court that she and other hispanic cleaning staff were treated differently to white staff.

Wedaa, who first started working at Bezos’s home in 2019, said she was regularly required to work for 10 to 14 hours without lunch or rest breaks if Bezos and his family were “in residence”.

The lawsuit claims that there was no dedicated break room or rest area and that Wedaa and other household staff would regularly eat in the laundry room.

Wedaa also claims that she was not allowed to enter Bezos’s house “unless to perform a cleaning assignment”, which made going to the toilet difficult and resulted in health issues.

“For about 18 months, in order to use a bathroom, [the] plaintiff and other housekeepers were forced to climb out of the laundry room window to the outside. Then run along the path to the mechanical room, through the mechanical room and downstairs to a bathroom,” the lawsuit, first reported by the Seattle-based blog Geekwire, states.

The lawsuit claims that because Wedaa and other housekeepers “had to spend large parts of their day unable to use the toilet”, they frequently developed urinary tract infections.

Amazon has also announced that it will lay off 10,000 workers. This is being done because its share prices have declined and cutting staff is a tried-and-true method of increasing profits and thus the share price. And who will benefit from the rise is share price? Why, Bezos of course.

Why not address these immediate and tangible ways of improving the lot of people who actually work for you without making vague and grandiose promises about what you might do in the future??

Bezos has probably not heard of the old saying that charity begins at home.


  1. Matt G says

    Giving away your fortune is capitalism, while treating your workers fairly is communism.

    “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.” -Hélder Pessoa Câmara

  2. moarscienceplz says

    Bezos is an asshole.
    He will probably claim that since he has stepped down from running AssMazon, that he is not responsible for their current actions, but since he established asshole policies as AssMazon’s normal routine, and he hired fellow assholes to run the place in his stead, I totally blame AssMazon’s current behavior on Bezos.
    Furthermore, my esteem of Dolly Parton dropped a whole lot when she accepted a pile of money from him for her charity work. I don’t believe for a nanosecond that Bezos has become Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning, I think he is merely trying to whitewash his disgusting reputation.

  3. Jean says

    The US being what it is, the other Amazon share holders could likely sue Bezos and win if he did something that did not maximize their return. I’m not trying to excuse him but there are more fundamental systemic problems in the US which allow and actually mandate the obscene inequalities.

  4. moarscienceplz says

    Further to my comment @2:
    The one good thing about Ebenezer Scrooge is that he was an absolutely honest and forthright miser. The same cannot be said about almost all of today’s billionaire misers.

  5. moarscienceplz says

    @3 Jean
    I have to disabuse you of some of your misconceptions. First, Bezos has retired from Amazon, so he can’t be sued for how it is being run today. Second, while it is true that one can sue another for almost anything in the US, civil trials are also usually jury trials. I know this for a fact because I was foreman of a jury in a trial between two companies. Unanimity is not required, but still you would have to convince 9 out of 12 jurors that the management of Amazon had not sufficiently protected your shareholder interests, and I doubt 9 out of 12 ordinary citizens would agree that policies demanding no bathroom breaks are necessary for efficiently running a modern company.

  6. friedfish2718 says

    Mr Singham, claiming to be a scientist, should back up his words with some numbers, some quantifiable evidence.
    Repeating leftist, socialist talking points is not constructive, not productive, not instructive, not illuminating.
    Below are some numbers I compiled.
    company_________employees____profit($M)______profit/emp______avg pay
    Saudi Aramco_______68,493______$105,369______1,500,000______$140,000
    What is your Meaasure Of Exploitation (MOEx)? My MOEx is the Profit per Employee compared to the average pay = (profit/emp)/(avg pay). The greater the MOEx, the greater the exploitation. But you can choose a different MOEx. The above MOEx for Walmart and Amazon are respectively 0.1475 and 0.6667. So Amazon is more exploitative than Walmart. The MOEx for Apple and Microsoft are respectively 11.20 and 2.833. So Apple is even more exploitative than Amazon. Apple, a favorite of the woke, beats Amazon by a very wide margin in the Exploitation Games. Go figure.
    The Left keeps screaming “Record Profits!!!”, “Record Profits!!!”, “Record Profits!!!”. Never talked about relative profit margins. One needs to spend A WHOLE LOT to make some Profit but that only if you make LOTs of sales.
    Net Relative Profitability (2020CY)
    Food / Restaurants__________15%
    Healthcare Products_________11%
    Hotels & Hospitality_________8%
    One hears about horror stories everywhere, even in places like Planned Parenthood and the New York Times. Amazon is in retail and a relative profit margin of 5% is pretty slim.
    For every Amazon there were 100 Amazon-wannabe’s who apparently all failed. Many of these wannabe-Amazon’s started with Socialist Ideals, with aims to heal the Planet and destroy the White Supremacist Patriarchal Heteronormative Misogynist Homophobic Racist Domination by outproducing, outperforming, outselling them mean, nasty, filthy, terrible, horrible, greedy, selfish, gluttonish, stinky Capitaalist Vermin. Where are the wonderful, marvelous, splendiferous Socialism-inspired Enterpises today?
    Keep in mind that Amazon started as a bookstore in Seattle. A very small enterprise with no clout with politicians (Local, State, Federal). Amazon had many competitors and Life is a Bitch.
    Back to the MOEx. Ironically High Tech makes much more profit per employee than Low Tech. Is High-Tech more exploitative of workers than Low-Tech? The Customers of Low-Tech are usually Low-Income and cannot afford High Prices. The Low-Tech workers are usually Low-Skill and thus cannot command high wages. The Customers of High-Tech are usually High-Income and can afford High Prices. The High-Tech workers are usually High-Skill and thus can command high wages.
    Elon Musk fired half of Twitter staff. If the Marxist theory of Labor is true, then the fired Twitter employees should be able to build a successful competitor to Twitter in no time while offering free meals to staff and to the homeless in the neighborhood.

  7. Jazzlet says

    @friedfish2718 who hasn’t even got the minimal research skills necessary to verify Mano is a scientist
    Nice bunch of strawmen there.

    Ever use scalpels? One of the largest manufacturers of scalpels and their associated handles etc is a worker owned business who give themselves Friday afternoon off. And that’s in the UK where the normal working week is only 37 hours. They have successfully innovated to stay on top and been profitable for the last ninety years.

  8. Deepak Shetty says

    Amazon has also announced that it will lay off 10,000 workers.

    This is what infuriates me about capitalism. if Amazon was making a loss and had to let go off people I get it.
    But if you make 100 ‘s of millions in profit -- you still layoff people because , what ? I always wonder about the degree of callousness one must have to do something like make millions and profit and then layoff people who contributed to that profit because of some slowdown in expected growth (not of profit, not of revenue , but just expected growth)


    Keep in mind that Amazon started as a bookstore in Seattle. A very small enterprise with no clout with politicians

    Thats right. A really small mom and pop shop that could lose millions of dollars(close to a billion) when it was starting up and yet continue. You heard of any “small” enterprise that could do that ?

  9. says

    Keep in mind that Amazon started as a bookstore in Seattle. A very small enterprise with no clout with politicians…

    And every international drug cartel starts out as a bunch of street-level dealers. Your point…?

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