An Amazon executive quit his job “dismayed” by the layoff of whistleblowers who expressed concern about unsafe working conditions in warehouses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Engineer Tim Bray said he is leaving the online retail giant after more than five years, citing the “toxic vein running through corporate culture”. He also criticized the tech giant’s actions as “chickens ** t”.
The vice president of Amazon Web Services says at least six of his colleagues have been fired for reporting; Courtney Bowden, Gerald Bryson, Maren Costa, Emily Cunningham, Bashir Mohammed and Chris Smalls.
In a blog post, Bray says the decision “will likely cost me more than a million dollars (before tax)”, but adds: “The layoff … is proof of a vein of toxicity running through the culture of l ‘company. I choose not to serve or drink this poison ‘
He adds: “Warehouse workers are weak and weakening, with mass unemployment and (in the United States) job-related health insurance.
“So they’re going to be treated like shit, because capitalism. Any plausible solution must begin by increasing their collective strength. “
DailyMail.com contacted Amazon for a comment.
Tim Bray, in the photo, announced that he had quit his job “with dismay” following the dismissal of whistleblowers who had raised concerns about unsafe working conditions in warehouses amidst coronavirus
Workers Protest Failure of Employers to Provide Adequate Workplace Protection at Amazon Delivery Platform During May 1 National Walkout / Escape by Workers in Hawthorne, California
A message is painted by activists on the street outside one of the houses of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos during the coronavirus epidemic in Washington on April 29
Amazon has been subjected to extensive scrutiny by lawmakers and unions to find out if it is doing enough to protect staff from the coronavirus.
And former Google employee Bray, who has previously talked about Amazon’s response to climate change, said he “broke” after the layoffs at Cunningham and Costa.
He says he has heightened his concerns “through the proper channels and through the book,” but argues that Amazon’s actions reflect a “corresponding lack of vision on the human costs of incessant growth and accumulation of wealth.” and power ”.
Fired Cunningham thanked Bray for his resignation, writing: “Amazon VP @timbray resigns for the #covid layoffs from me, @marencosta and others.
“Says Amazon” firing whistleblowers “is” evidence of a vein of toxicity running through corporate culture. I choose not to serve or drink this poison. ”
“Warehouse workers are weak and weakening, with mass unemployment and (in the United States) job-related health insurance. So they’re going to be treated like shit, because capitalism, ”writes Bray.
“Any plausible solution must begin by increasing their collective strength. “
Former Amazon employee Christian Smalls stands with other protesters during a demonstration outside of an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island
Designers Emily Cunningham, left, and Maren Costa, right, both critical of the online giant’s working conditions in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, have been fired from Amazon
Bray also noted that a number of attorneys general have expressed concerns about working conditions at Amazon facilities.
New York’s attorney general Letitia James wrote that the retail giant denounced the health and safety measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as “inadequate”.
His office says Amazon may have acted illegally by firing a warehouse whistleblower “to silence his complaints.”
Amazon sacked Christian Smalls on the grounds that he was putting others at risk by violating his paid quarantine when he joined a protest at the Amazon Staten Island distribution center.
But the letter, sent to the company on April 22, adds that the preliminary findings “raise serious concerns about the release of Amazon (Smalls) in order to silence its complaints and send a threatening message to other employees who “They should also remain silent on any health and safety concerns.”
“Amazon’s health and safety measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are so inadequate that they may violate several provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act,” wrote James’ office. the letter.
Amazon, founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, said it had taken “extreme measures” to keep its employees safe, according to a company press release cited by NPR, which first reported the letter.
The Seattle-based company faced a public review of the safety and working conditions of warehouse, delivery and retail workers in the United States after cases of COVID-19 were reported in some of its facilities.
Workers in the United States have protested what they say is unsafe working conditions. In addition to walkouts in Staten Island and Minnesota, staff demonstrated in Chicago and Detroit.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and girlfriend Lauren Sanchez. Bezos is once again the richest person in the world. While many businesses have suffered from business closings, Amazon has thrived and even hired 100,000 new employees to keep up with the surge in demand.
The economic damage caused by the epidemic has been widespread and severe, but for Amazon, an increase in demand from those who have been stranded, which has seen its share price rise
Amazon tells office staff that they can continue working from home until at least OCTOBER
Amazon has told staff whose work can be done from home that it can be done until at least October 2, delaying the return-to-work deadline for many employees as it faces a scrutiny of conditions in its warehouses.
“Employees who work in a role that can actually be done from their home are encouraged to do so until at least October 2,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement emailed Friday, adding that ‘It was applicable to these roles around the world.
The statement did not specify what proportion of the company’s total workforce covered and what roles.
He said the company is investing funds in security measures for employees who wish to come to the office “through physical distance, deep cleaning, temperature controls and the availability of covers.” faces and hand sanitizer ”.
New York Attorney General Letitia James told Amazon last week that she may have violated safety and work practices amid the virus epidemic after the company fired a leader of protesters in a warehouse in March.
Warehouse and other facility workers remained operational to keep deliveries to customers trapped at home in government-mandated locks.
Other employees have been working from home since March.
The company increased overtime wages for warehouse workers and hired 175,000 people last month, while rival brick and mortar retailers had to close stores. As of December 31, there were 798,000 full-time and part-time workers worldwide.
Bashir Mohamed was fired from the Minnesota factory where he had worked for three years last week after protests, reports Buzzfeed.
Designers Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, both critical of the online retail giant’s working conditions following the coronavirus pandemic, were also fired.
Amazon says Mohamed was fired because he refused to speak to a supervisor; Cunningham and Costa for “repeated violation of internal policies”.
In March, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he had ordered the city’s human rights commission to investigate the dismissal of Smalls.
A spokesperson previously said, “We encourage everyone to compare the health and safety measures taken by Amazon and the speed of their implementation during this crisis with other retailers.”
But James’ office is also said to be investigating “other potential illegal reprisals” against the workers.
The letter added, “This office has learned that many workers are afraid to voice their concerns after Mr. Smalls’ termination.
“This is a particularly dangerous message to send during a pandemic, when workers’ scary speech about health and safety practices can literally be a matter of life and death. “
He also calls on the e-commerce giant to close some warehouses for “adequate disinfection and disinfection”.
Leaked banknotes had previously exposed the company’s trillion-dollar plans to vilify Smalls.
Senior bosses called Smalls “not smart” and discussed placing him as the face of the workers’ walkout.
“He’s not smart or articulate, and since the press wants to focus on us against him, we will be in a much stronger public relations position than just explaining for the umpteenth time how we are trying to protect workers, “wrote Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky.
“They pretty much hit back on me for reporting,” Smalls told the New York Post. “I don’t know how they sleep at night.
Workers from Amazon, Whole Foods, Instacart, Target and Walmart organize mass illness exit and plan nationwide protests calling for risk premium, paid vacation and equipment protection in the context of the COVID-19 crisis
Employees of some of America’s largest companies on Friday coordinated a “massive hiatus” to protest dangerous working conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Friday afternoon, hundreds of workers from Amazon, Whole Foods, Instacart, Target and Walmart left work due to risk compensation, sick leave, equipment protection and additional cleaning products.
Employees became essential workers during the COVID-19 epidemic, but say bosses aren’t doing enough to keep them from getting the virus.
While small groups from each of the companies have been asking for safer working conditions since mid-March, Friday’s illness marks the first time they have joined forces to create a large-scale “movement”.
The disease falls on International Workers’ Day and organizers are also asking customers to boycott the purchase of products from listed companies for the whole day.
Photos taken outside an Amazon distribution center on Friday afternoon showed workers holding up signs that read “Capitalism is the virus” and “Capitalism is killing.”
Hundreds of workers from Amazon, Whole Foods, Instacart, Target and Walmart have called the sick or plan to quit their jobs on Friday afternoon to claim a risk premium, sick leave, health care equipment protection and additional cleaning supplies. Protester is seen outside Whole Foods earlier this month
Protesters outside the Amazon Achievement Center on Staten Island, New York, are pictured on Friday
The demonstration outside of Amazon’s warehouse on Staten Island was one of many scheduled for Friday in front of major retailers across the country.
Christian Smalls helped organize Friday’s illness.
He told the Washington Post that workers at about 25 Amazon warehouses “should come out at noon and petition the facilities.”
“The virus is killing some of our employees – it’s a matter of life and death,” said Smalls.
Workers at more than a dozen Amazon plants have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least one worker has died.
However, Amazon – which also owns Whole Foods – responded, saying that workers’ groups are “spreading misinformation and making false claims” about the company.
“The statements made are unsupported by facts or by a representative of the majority of the 500,000 employees of Amazon operations in the United States who show up to work to support their communities,” spokeswoman Rachael Lighty told The Post.
Christian Smalls, a former Amazon worker who was fired from the company in March after organizing a strike for safety reasons, helped organize Friday’s illness. He is represented on the right
Supporters of former Amazon employee turned out to be in force and called on online retail giant to provide front-line workers with risk premium, sick leave, protective gear and products additional cleaning
Healthcare workers have also shown solidarity with front-line retail workers
Dozens of workers were seen six feet apart while standing outside the Staten Island warehouse
A masked protester holds up a sign that says, “Treat your workers like your customers!”
Daughter of essential worker seen at New York demonstration
Police were on site during protests, but no misconduct was reported after warehouse workers left work on Friday afternoon
Protester Targets Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos With Sign
Meanwhile, Target says they “distribute protective gear, thoroughly clean up control lanes, limit customer traffic and add plexiglass bulkheads” to keep their employees safe.
They say that only a small number of their 340,000 front-line workers are likely to participate in the disease.
However, a Target employee in Virginia told NBC News that he and his colleagues would be involved in the illness.
Despite protests, Amazon – which also owns Whole Foods – responded, saying workers’ groups are “spreading misinformation and making false claims” about the company
Workers at more than a dozen Amazon plants have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least one worker has died. Protesters demand more adequate security protocols
“As workers, we have an agency, we have the capacity to make a difference and we don’t have to be passive spectators in our political and social lives,” they said.
And it seems that they have the feeling of the public on their side.
Hundreds of messages shared on social media on Friday came from consumers saying they would not buy products from companies until the demands of the employees were met.
Charles Booker, who is running for Congress, wrote on Twitter: Our lives are not goods. Our work does not define our humanity. This is why we organize ourselves. When it’s necessary, that’s why we strike. The # MayDay2020 and everyday, I stand with workers and unions. Proud to be online with you.
Another Twitter user said, “It’s my birthday. Please boycott @amazon ‘.
Public policy expert predicts corporate public relations disaster will not give in to some of the demands – given that public sentiment is on the side of the workers
Posters boycotting clients have been widely shared on Twitter
A public policy expert predicts that a corporate public relations disaster will not respond to some of the demands – particularly given that Amazon and Instacart have seen the demands soar amidst national home stay orders.
“If their sales go up, but they don’t pay workers a reasonable salary, it could be a huge public relations disaster for some of these companies,” Molly Kinder, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, told The Post.
Activists protested outside the home of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in Washington, DC on Wednesday, calling on him to increase safety protocols for workers.
More than one million Americans tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 63,000 have died.