As a former Amazon developer, I can attest this is true, particularly for the retail side, as a developer you have to be involved in some kind of on-call rotation, and that will mean someone gets stuck doing it on holidays. On the bigger shopping days and holidays like Black Friday and Christmas, you’d usually have a three-man rotation to make sure no one had to be stuck with it the whole time.
Just anecdotally, the vast majority of developers I worked with were good at their jobs and enjoyed what they did. The horror stories we would hear about mostly came from the teams that are critical to the business (like payments for retail or S3 on the AWS side) or were just random one-offs where the manager was terrible. In a company of 700,000 people or whatever it’s up to now, it’s impossible to prevent that from happening. There is a general sentiment within the company though that “well, I haven’t seen it myself, so the system is working fine,” even in the warehouses where we know problems are much more significant.
That all being said, I don’t regret leaving at all. The Amazon today is not the same as when I joined 5+ years ago, it definitely feels like it has gotten more toxic inside and there is no urge to do good things for the world. In my exit survey they ask you what one thing you would like to see Bezos and his team focus on more, and I said to put more money and effort into philanthropy. It’s not like they can’t afford it.