Tim Bray, senior engineer at Amazon Web Services, and the vice president just quit his job because whistleblowers have been fired for attempting to expose Amazon warehouse employees’ sub-par working climate.
In his blog post, Bray wrote:
Remaining an Amazon VP would have meant, in effect, signing off on actions I despised. So, I resigned. The victims weren’t abstract entities but real people; here are some of their names: Courtney Bowden, Gerald Bryson, Maren Costa, Emily Cunningham, Bashir Mohammed, and Chris Smalls. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that every one of them is a person of color, a woman, or both, right?
Amazon has been facing questions over how it has been handling its warehouse staff for some time now, and the only way the company addresses the situation is by dismissing employees who lift their voices. The conglomerate fired Maren Costa and Emily Cunningham on Twitter last month for their Seattle Warehouse for criticizing the company.
The ladies had been critical of the environment policy of Amazon. In addition, the Amazon six engineering employees in April demonstrated against the company’s prosecution of staff for taking a sick day. Another toiler. Chris Smalls, from the warehouse in New York, was fired for “violating social distancing rules and putting others’ health at risk.”
Highlighting this issue, Bray wrote:
At the end of the day, it’s all about power balances. The warehouse workers are weak and getting weaker, with mass unemployment and (in the US) job-linked health insurance. So, they’re gonna get treated like crap, because capitalism. Any plausible solution has to start with increasing their collective strength. The big problem isn’t the specifics of the d-19 response. It’s that Amazon treats the humans in the warehouses as fungible units of pick-and-pack potential.
Bray is not at all happy about leaving the company. He said:
This will probably cost me over a million (pre-tax) dollars, not to mention the best job I’ve ever had, working with awfully good people. So, I’m pretty blue.