Amazon’s HR Boss Rejects Employee Remote Work Petition

  • Beth Galetti denied an internal petition asking Amazon to reverse its new return-to-office policy.
  • She said that coming into the office would create “long-term benefits” for Amazon and its employees.
  • Roughly 30,000 Amazon employees signed the petition protesting the new RTO mandate.

Amazon’s top HR executive formally rejected an internal petition signed by roughly 30,000 employees over the company’s new return-to-office policy.

Beth Galetti, Amazon’s SVP of People Experience and Technology, shared the message, obtained by Insider, on Wednesday with the organizing group behind the petition. Galetti wrote that the petition was shared with CEO Andy Jassy’s leadership team last week and that the company still intends to move forward with its RTO plan, which requires most corporate employees to come into the office three times a week starting in May.

“Given the large size of our workforce and our wide range of businesses and customers, we recognize this transition may take time, but we are confident it will result in long-term benefits to increase our ability to deliver for our customers, bolstering our culture , and growing and developing employees,” Galetti wrote in his message, seen by Insider.

When Insider asked for a comment on this story, a spokesperson for Amazon pointed to Jassy’s previous post from February announcing the new RTO mandate.

Galetti’s message was in response to an internal petition signed by roughly 30,000 Amazon employees that followed the RTO announcement mandate last month. In that announcement, Jassy wrote that change was necessary because “collaborating and inventing is easier and more effective” when working in person. Amazon is estimated to have about 300,000 total corporate employees.

The RTO plan led to an immediate internal uproar; more than 30,000 employees joined a new Slack channel called “remote advocacy” within hours of the announcement to criticize the change and organize the petition, as Insider previously reported. In the petition, Amazon employees cited research and argued that remote work improved productivity, recruitment, work-life balance, inclusion of efforts, and reduced corporate expenses.

Members of the Slack channel were noticeably disappointed after seeing Galetti’s response, especially because it came the same week that the company announced plans to lay off an additional 9,000 employees, on top of the 18,000 cuts in January, according to messages seen by Insider.

“I realize Beth can’t respond to every accommodation request, but I don’t think this is representative of the vision she describes and the disconnect is painful,” wrote one person.

“I’m collapsing here. I’m sorry. I feel like a total failure,” another person wrote. “Come in and work. Do as you’re told. I’m crying as my family prepares a meal.”

“I recovered from Alcoholism by WFH and now I don’t know,” a third person wrote.

Here’s the full copy of Galetti’s message:

Hello everyone –

Andy’s team shared your note last week, and I wanted to take a moment to follow up directly. First, thank you to everyone who collaborated on this document to thoughtfully bring their concerns forward.

Over the last three years, we have been continuously assessing the strengths and weaknesses of different working models, listening to public health guidance on safety standards to bring employees back, and considering what’s most compatible for our unique culture. As mentioned in Andy’s update, the guiding principle used in our decision making was to prioritize what would enable us to make our customers’ lives better and easier every day, and consistently invent to do so. Given the large size of our workforce and our wide range of businesses and customers, we recognize this transition may take time, but we are confident it will result in long-term benefits to increase our ability to deliver for our customers, bolstering our culture, and growing and developing employees.

I also want to make it absolutely clear that our commitment to DEI, the safety and well-being of our employees, and sustainability remains unchanged. Moreover, our companywide Anti-Harassment Policy makes it clear that we will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind. Resources and HR business partners are available to employees who feel they have been subject to discrimination in the workplace. We also have the People Accessibility & Disability Experience team that is available to assist employees with disabilities. Further information on health and safety standards, commuter benefits, accommodations, and other concerns can be found in this FAQ.

Thank you again for raising your concerns as it’s important to me and the rest of the leadership team that employee voices are heard. Beth

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