What we learned about Amazon from its annual meeting


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Addressing the issue of warehouse worker safety in response to a shareholder question this week, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy described the company's safety initiatives — most of them related to technology and invention. The focus on innovation is "true to their DNA," says former Amazon general manager and retail category leader Andrea Leigh, who is now founder and CEO of the Allume Group, an e-commerce learning company.

Looking at it from Amazon's perspective, the approach makes sense, she points out: "If you have half a million or more warehouse workers, you are probably thinking about it algorithmically." But labor unions and employees are focused more on the individual human impact. "And I think those two points of view just won't ever marry," Leigh says.

That's one of the takeaways from this discussion with Leigh, recapping and analyzing Amazon's annual meeting this week. Several shareholder proposals at the meeting addressed employee issues including warehouse worker safety and unionization.

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