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Amazon layoffs hit home – see the memo here

Jenny Peterson //April 28, 2023//

Amazon layoffs hit home – see the memo here

Jenny Peterson //April 28, 2023//

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Thousands of Amazon employees in mostly tech-related positions were officially notified of the expected news that they were being laid off on Wednesday, April 26, according to Amazon corporate communications. Notification messages sent to all impacted employees in the United States, Canada and Costa Rica.

The e-commerce giant, which has operations in North Charleston, did not reveal where the impacted employees were based. There were no Amazon closures or layoffs listed in South Carolina’s regulatory layoff notification report (pdf) posted April 21.

“We’re not sharing details about (where) the impacted employees are based beyond any legally required disclosures,” stated Brad Glasser, with Amazon corporate communications, on Thursday, April 27.

The layoffs were part of an announcement on March 20 by Amazon CEO Andy Jassy that Amazon would eliminate about 9,000 employees globally, mostly in Amazon’s Web Services (AWS), People Experience and Technology (PXT), advertising and Twitch, the company’s streaming platform for gamers and content creators. Read Jassy’s memo here.

Jassy wrote that the layoffs were necessary in an uncertain economy and for the long-term health of the company. He said Amazon had added a large number of employees over the past several years.

In a memo sent to impacted employees April 27, provided to the Charleston Regional Business Journal by Amazon corporate communications, Adam Selipsky, CEO of AWS, echoed Jassy’s message of needing to cull the employee pool after rapid growth over the last several years.

“It is a tough day across our organization,” Selipsky wrote. “Given this rapid growth, as well as the overall business and macroeconomic climate, it is critical that we focus on identifying and putting our resources behind our top priorities … in many cases this means team members are shifting the projects, initiatives or teams on which they work; however, in other cases it has resulted in these role eliminations.”

He added, “The fundamentals and the outlook for our business are strong, and we are very confident in our long-term prospects.”

Beth Galetti, senior vice-president of PXT wrote similar sentiments to department employees.

“These decisions are not taken lightly, and I recognize the impact it will have across both those transitioning out of the company as well as our colleagues who remain,” Galetti said.

The company announced that impacted Amazon employees in other regions globally would be notified following local processes, which may include time for consultations with employee representative bodies.

Jassy’s memo stated that the company would provide packages that include a separation payment, transitional health insurance benefits, and external job placement support.

The layoff notifications came the same day Amazon reported first-quarter net sales of $127.4 billion, up 9% year-over-year. The hashtag #Amazonlayoffs began trending on Twitter and LinkedIn Thursday as employees posted the news that their positions were officially eliminated.

In 2018, the company’s on-demand self-publishing division CreateSpace laid off 58 employees and closed its office at 4900 LaCross Road in North Charleston.