Amazon exec Dave Clark praised the CDC mask guidance, saying it will go a ‘long way’ in reducing vaccine hesitancy

Dave Clark
Dave Clark, Amazon’s Chief Executive Officer of Worldwide Consumer Business

  • Amazon exec Dave Clark said he thinks the CDC’s recent mask guidance will lead to more vaccinations.
  • The new guidance will help reduce vaccine hesitancy, Clark said at a Chamber of Commerce forum.
  • The CDC recently said fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks in most places.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

An Amazon executive said eliminating mask mandates for fully vaccinated people will reduce vaccine hesitancy.

Dave Clark, Amazon’s chief executive officer of consumer business, praised the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to recommend fully vaccinated people to stop wearing masks in most places.

“I think the guidance we just got from the CDC is big,” Clark said during the US Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Global Forum on Economic Recovery on May 18. “This ability to be able to, if you’ve been vaccinated, not wear a mask indoors I think is going to go a long way to help reduce hesitancy.”

Clark said he heard frontline Amazon workers question why they need to get vaccinated if they’ve been coming to work for months and still need to social distance. But getting vaccination clinics on Amazon work sites had led to a 20% increase in the number of employees getting shots, Clark said.

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Amazon plans new ‘Diagnostics’ brand that offers at-home medical tests for COVID-19, sexually transmitted infections, and clinical genomics

“People needed to see and hear that there was actually a path forward,” Clark added. “I think as that picture becomes clearer, you’re going to see more and more people, I hope, shift and go take the vaccine.”

Following the CDC’s recommendation to ease COVID restrictions for fully vaccinated people, major retailers like Target, Walmart, and Costco said they will not require fully vaccinated shoppers to wear masks. Amazon has not yet announced whether it will change mask policies in warehouses and fulfillment centers based on the CDC guidance.

More than 122 million US adults have been fully vaccinated as of May 18, representing 47% of the adult population, per the CDC. Cases of COVID-19 are steadily declining in the US, and hospitalizations due to the disease have record lows in New York and California.

The CDC recommends fully vaccinated people still wear masks in healthcare settings, homeless shelters, public transportation, and airports, and allowed private companies to enforce mask rules as they see fit.

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Amazon exec Dave Clark pushed USPS to install mailbox now at center of union election controversy

Mailbox Amazon Bessemer
The mailbox outside the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer.

Amazon consumer CEO Dave Clark led the company’s push to persuade the US Postal Service to install a controversial temporary mailbox outside Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, during a recent union election, multiple outlets reported Monday.

“Please let me know where we stand on this — this is a highly visible Dave Clark initiative,” Becky Moore, an Amazon senior manager, said in a January email to USPS officials presented at a National Labor Relations Board hearing Monday, according to Bloomberg.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Jay Smith, a USPS official in charge of managing major accounts including Amazon, also testified to the NLRB that it was the first time he was aware of the agency installing such a mailbox at the request of a private company, Bloomberg reported.

Photos of the mailbox showed that modifications made by the USPS to accommodate more outgoing ballots could potentially have allowed a recipient assigned to an adjacent incoming mailbox to access the outgoing mail, according to Bloomberg.

Last week, Amazon employee Kevin Jackson testified that he saw the company’s security guards use keys to access that outgoing mail slot, but Amazon denied those allegations, Bloomberg previously reported.

Amazon’s employees voted against unionizing in April. But the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, under which employees would have unionized, filed official objections to the NLRB, claiming Amazon violated labor laws during its anti-union campaign.

The NLRB agreed to hold a hearing to determine whether Amazon acted illegally and whether a new election should be held.

The RWDSU specifically objected to Amazon’s push to convince the USPS to install the mailbox – which came despite the NLRB rejecting Amazon’s requests to force employees to vote in-person – saying the mailbox “provided a clear ability to intimidate workers.”

Amazon previously told Insider the box was an effort to allow workers to vote more easily.

The Washington Post reported last month that the USPS only decided to install the mailbox after repeated requests from Amazon corporate employees, but testimony and evidence presented during the multi-day NLRB hearing has shed more light on Amazon’s tactics.

Smith also testified that the USPS explicitly told Amazon not to place anything around the mailbox that suggested it was where employees needed to vote, CNBC reported. Yet Amazon proceeded to place a tent around the mailbox that read: “Speak for yourself! Mail your ballot here.”

“I was surprised because I was asked, ‘Can anything physical be put on the box?'” Smith said, according to CNBC, adding: “I said no. I did not want to see anything else put around that box indicating that it was a vote.”

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Jeff Bezos’ former No. 2 said he still plans to send an email to his old team at Amazon any time he notices a ‘defect’

Amazon CEO of worldwide consumer Jeff Wilke
Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s former CEO of worldwide consumer.

  • Jeff Bezos’ former No. 2, Jeff Wilke, says he’s still paying close attention to customer service.
  • “The team knows any time there’s a defect, I’m going to send an email,” he told dot.LA.
  • Wilke oversaw Amazon’s consumer business before stepping down earlier this year.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Jeff Wilke may no longer be one of the most powerful executives at Amazon, but that doesn’t mean his standards for Amazon’s customer service have relaxed.

Wilke, who oversaw Amazon’s global consumer retail business and worked at the company for over 21 years, told Los Angeles tech and startups publication dot.LA in a recent interview that despite his departure from Amazon, he’s still paying close attention when, say, a package doesn’t arrive on time – and his former employees are going to hear about it.

“I mean, the team knows any time there’s a defect, I’m going to send an email and that’s not going to change,” Wilke said.

Wilke announced last August that he would be stepping down from his role as CEO of worldwide consumer in early 2021 in order to “explore personal interests that have taken a back seat for over two decades,” he wrote in a letter to employees. He’s recently been angel investing in a range of shipping, manufacturing, and biotech startups, according to dot.LA.

Dave Clark, Amazon’s former senior vice president of worldwide operations, replaced Wilke as Amazon’s consumer chief.

Read more: Executives who work for Amazon’s logistics kingpin Dave Clark become ‘Dave whisperers’ to avoid directly speaking to the brash boss

Wilke had long been considered the second-most-important person at the company, and, along with Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy, reported directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and was part of Bezos’ elite “S-team.”

Wilke left Amazon before the end of the first quarter, retiring with roughly $158 million in Amazon shares.

Since his departure, Bezos has also announced that he plans to step down from his role as CEO this year, with Jassy taking his place. Wilke told dot.LA that he had “never really thought about” whether he’d be picked as the next CEO of Amazon because he “always imagined Jeff doing it forever.”

When asked if he was surprised when Bezos announced his departure, Wilke responded, simply, “Yes.”

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Amazon is sending employees into the trenches on Twitter as it battles its first union vote and reports about workers peeing in bottles

amazon warehouse
  • Amazon’s paid army of employee Twitter users is at it again, this time criticizing unionization.
  • The employee accounts follow a standard format, and popped up previously amid negative press coverage.
  • A major union drive and reports of delivery drivers peeing in bottles are the primary target.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

As new reports surface of Amazon warehouse and delivery staff still having to pee in bottlesor, in some cases, defecate in bags – the company’s employee-powered Twitter army has resurfaced.

“So glad to be on Twitter! Feel free to ask my anything about my experiences as a member of the Amazon family, I’m an open book!” an account tied to an employee named Darla tweeted last week. The account, like several others reviewed by Insider, was started in March 2021.

Back in 2018, Amazon admitted to paying a small army of employees to tweet positive things about the company.

The move was in response to the first revelations that some Amazon warehouse and delivery staff were peeing in bottles to save time due to the demands of their job. The employees paid by Amazon were easy to identify, as they all shared the same “Amazon FC” naming convention on their profiles (FC for “fulfillment center,” the name of Amazon’s shipping warehouses).

After Darla’s cheerful intro written in late March, the second tweet on the account reflects the grim reality of being an Amazon FC ambassador. “One thing that’s become obvious to me in my short time on Twitter is how willing people are to shout down and be cruel to a fellow member of the working class who disagrees with them, even when they think that person is ‘brainwashed.’ The cruelty I’ve had directed at me!!!” she tweeted.

Darla’s only other tweets reflect her anti-union position – a tweet that was published the same day that employees of an Amazon fulfillment center were scheduled to vote on the company’s first major union.

“What bothers me most about unions is there’s no ability to opt out of dues!” she said on Monday. “As a single mother with two boys I’m barely scraping by as it is, and now unions want to come to Amazon and make pay them a piece of my salary. No thanks!”

Several other Amazon FC ambassadors kept their main tweets to a minimum, choosing instead to reply to ongoing Twitter threads about working at the company. The majority of those responses are specifically regarding bathroom breaks, per the reports of employees peeing in bottles.

Amazon driver thumb pee bottle
An Amazon driver shared this photo with Insider of a bottle of pee inside a delivery van.

“My [fulfillment center] lets me to take (2) 20min breaks and (1) 30min lunch. On overtime days, we get three 20min breaks, which is also pretty nice as well,” one such response from an employee identified at Gary reads. “Before the pandemic, our breaks used to be only 15min. Being an essential worker is dignifying for me.”

Another such response to a thread, from an employee named Yola, also addresses the repeated reports of employees peeing in bottles to save work time.

“Although the facility is big, there are numerous bathrooms to use,” she wrote on March 28. “My building has 12. Each bathroom can have 3-6 toilets. That’ plenty. Plus with 20-30 [minute] breaks that’s more than enough time.”

Like Gary and Darla, Yola’s account was also started in March 2021 and didn’t become active until late in the month – just as Amazon began publicly pushing back on unionization at its Bessemer, Alabama fulfillment center and reports of workers peeing in bottles resurfaced once again.

A Twitter account run by the company, Amazon News, recently got into public arguments with several politicians. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, as well as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Mark Pocan, have all gotten into public spats with the account.

The tone of the account became combative enough that an Amazon engineer reportedly flagged the tweets as potentially suspicious behavior.

And Amazon consumer chief Dave Clark also got involved in those public spats, even going after Sen. Sanders’ record directly. “I often say we are the Bernie Sanders of employers,” he said, “but that’s not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace for our constituents: a $15 minimum wage, health care from day one, career progression, and a safe and inclusive work environment.”

According to a report from Vox, Amazon cofounder and CEO Jeff Bezos specifically directed executives to push back harder on critics of the company. Amazon representatives did not respond to a request for comment as of publishing.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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Amazon is ripping into Bernie Sanders as pressure builds in the final days of a union vote led by workers in Alabama

Bernie Sanders minimum wage
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during an event to introduce the Raise The Wage Act in the Rayburn Room at the US Capitol on January 16, 2019 in Washington, DC.

  • Amazon consumer chief Dave Clark attacked Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday morning.
  • Clark said Sanders “should save his finger wagging lecture” until he raises the minimum wage in Vermont.
  • Sanders is traveling to Alabama to speak with Amazon workers voting on the company’s first union.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Amazon is going all-in on attacking Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The company’s consumer chief Dave Clark went after Sanders for the second day in a row. In a tweet, Clark called out Vermont’s $11.75 minimum wage and said “The Sen should save his finger wagging lecture until after he actually delivers in his own backyard.”

Amazon raised its minimum wage to $15 in 2018 after critics, including Sanders, repeatedly highlighted the issue.

“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” CEO Jeff Bezos said. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.” The company has since used the move as a means of hurting its competitors.

Sanders announced on Wednesday that he’ll be traveling to Alabama to meet with employees at Amazon’s Bessemer fulfillment center, where workers are in the final days of a unionization bid. The vote, which could form the first union in Amazon’s history, closes on Monday.

“I look forward to meeting with Amazon workers in Alabama on Friday,” Sanders said on Wednesday. “All I want to know is why the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, is spending millions trying to prevent workers from organizing a union so they can negotiate for better wages, benefits and working conditions.”

Following Sanders’ announcement, Clark hit back at the senator, saying that Amazon calls itself “the Bernie Sanders of employers,” but that the comparison isn’t perfect, “because we actually deliver a progressive workplace.”

Notably, Amazon does not support unionization, and has actively pushed employees to vote against it. The company even launched an internal campaign, “Do It Without Dues,” to dissuade employees from unionization.

Amazon employees have criticized the company’s working conditions for years.

Amazon delivery drivers speaking with Insider in 2018 described a variety of time-saving measures they used to meet company demands: urinating in bottles, speeding, and sprinting to meet deadlines. In the UK, fulfillment center workers also “peed in bottles” so they didn’t have to leave their station to walk to a restroom, eating up work time.

Amazon has repeatedly refuted these reports. “You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you?” a message from Amazon’s official news account said on Wednesday. “If that were true, nobody would work for us.”

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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Amazon’s consumer chief says the company is ‘like the Bernie Sanders of employers’ but that ‘we actually deliver a progressive workplace for our constituents’

Amazon SVP WW ops Dave Clark
Dave Clark, Amazon’s chief of worldwide consumer.

  • Amazon’s Dave Clark issued a fiery response to Bernie Sanders’ visit to its Alabama warehouse.
  • “We actually deliver a progressive workplace for our constituents,” Clark said.
  • Sanders has come out in support of the union and criticized Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ fortune.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Amazon’s consumer chief is firing back at Sen. Bernie Sanders ahead of the Vermont politician’s visit to Amazon’s Alabama warehouse amid a union vote.

Sanders has plans to visit Birmingham, Alabama, on Friday to meet with Amazon workers in the final days of a vote to unionize at Amazon’s Bessemer fulfillment center. Dave Clark, who serves as CEO of worldwide consumer at Amazon, issued a fiery statement on Wednesday in response to Sanders’ visit.

“I welcome the Senator to Birmingham and appreciate his push for a progressive workplace,” Clark said in a statement to Insider. “I often say we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace for our constituents: a $15 minimum wage, health care from day one, career progression, and a safe and inclusive work environment.”

“So if you want to hear about $15 an hour and health care, Senator Sanders will be speaking downtown. But if you would like to make at least $15 an hour and have good health care, Amazon is hiring,” Clark said.

Sanders’ trip to Alabama comes as roughly 6,000 Amazon workers vote on whether or not to form a union, which would be the first at the company. The vote closes on March 29 and votes will be tallied on March 30.

Amazon has staunchly opposed the formation of a union, arguing that it would only cost workers more money in dues and provide benefits Amazon already gives them.

The company has aggressively pushed employees to vote against unionizing. Employees told Insider that Amazon had started handing out “vote no” pins and hosting frequent informational meetings about unions in addition to airing anti-union ads on Twitch and placing signs in bathrooms.

Sanders has been an outspoken critic of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos over his $184 billion fortune, and has come out in support of the Alabama employees’ unionization efforts.

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One of Amazon’s top execs wrote a letter to Biden offering to help with his pledge to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days

Amazon SVP of WW ops Dave Clark
Dave Clark, Amazon’s CEO of worldwide consumer.

  • Amazon exec Dave Clark is offering to help President Joe Biden with the vaccination effort.
  • Clark touted Amazon’s logistics, communications, and IT expertise in a letter to Biden. 
  • Clark also asked that Amazon’s essential workers receive the vaccine at the “earliest appropriate time.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

One of Amazon’s top executives is offering to help President Joe Biden with his pledge to vaccinate 100 million Americans during his first 100 days in office. 

Dave Clark, the CEO of Amazon’s consumer business and Jeff Bezos’ second-in-command, sent a letter to Biden shortly after he was sworn in on Wednesday, congratulating the new president and offering to help with the vaccination effort.

NBC News’ Dylan Byers was the first to report on the letter.

“We are prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration’s vaccination efforts,” Clark wrote. “Our scale allows us to make a meaningful impact immediately in the fight against COVID-19, and we stand ready to assist you in this effort.”

Read more: How Dave Clark, the mastermind behind Amazon’s coronavirus response, became one of the most powerful executives in America

Clark also wrote that Amazon’s 800,000 US workers, most of whom have been deemed essential, should receive the vaccine at the “earliest appropriate time” and that the company has partnered with a third-party healthcare provider to administer the vaccine at Amazon’s facilities. 

You can read the full letter below:

Last month, Clark wrote a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention making a similar request. He emphasized that many workers in Amazon’s fulfillment centers or employees at Whole Foods Markets nationwide cannot work from home and have been supplying Americans with essential goods throughout the pandemic. 

Biden pledged last month that his administration will ramp up the pace of vaccinations by “five to six times the current pace to 1 million shots a day,” an initiative that he said would require more funding from Congress. 

“The effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should,” Biden said last month, adding that at the current rate, “it’s going to take years, not months, to vaccinate the American people.” 

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