Amazon supports federal bill to legalize marijuana
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
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Amazon throws its weight behind federal legislation to legalize marijuana and pledges to no longer screen some of its workers for drugs.
In a blog post Amazon consumer boss Dave Clark said on Tuesday the company supports the law on reinvestment and removal of marijuana opportunities, reintroduced to the House at the end of last month. The MORE law would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level, clear criminal records and invest in affected communities.
“We hope that other employers will join us and that policy makers move quickly to pass this law,” Clark wrote.
Amazon said it would adjust its drug testing policy for some of its employees. The company will no longer include marijuana in its drug testing program for positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation, Clark said.
“In the past, like many employers, we have disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use,” Clark said. “However, given the evolution of state laws in the United States, we have changed course.”
Clark said Amazon is also in the process of making changes to its system that measures worker productivity, known as the “leave task.”
Amazon tracks the productivity rates of its warehouse workers, recording the number of packages they pick, pack and put away each hour. If employees take a break from analyzing packages for too long, Amazon’s internal systems will log it as a time off task and generate a warning, which can lead to layoffs later.
The measurement system was designed to identify problems with worker tools and “only secondarily to identify underperforming employees,” Clark said.
Starting today, Clark said, Amazon will be measuring leave tasks over a longer period of time. “We believe this change will help ensure that the duty leave policy is used as intended,” he added.
Amazon’s leave policy has already been the subject of close scrutiny from employees and workers’ advocacy groups who argue that it makes working conditions more difficult and that it is used as a tool to monitor workers. These groups also said that Amazon’s relentless pace of work contributes to increased injury rates among employees.
In his last letter to shareholders in April, outgoing CEO Jeff Bezos argued that Amazon’s performance targets are not unreasonable. However, he recognized that Amazon needed “a better view of employee success” and pledged to make the company “the best employer on the planet and the safest workplace on the planet” .