Tuesday 5 May 2020

Amazon VP quits, calls company 'chickens**t' for firing workers who protested warehouse conditions

A Vice President for Amazon Web Services quit the retailer in protest on Friday, but he did not make a quiet exit.

Tim Bray wrote a scathing letter explaining his departure, wherein he called the company "chickens**t" for firing a group of activist workers who were exposing employees' fears over warehouse conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.

What are the details?

Mr. Bray announced on his personal blog that he left Amazon on May 1, saying he "quit in dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of COVID-19."
The high-level engineer accused management of grossly mishandling the situation over the workers' protests, and even accused the company of discrimination for firing six employees who were all either "a person of color, a woman, or both."
Bray explained that he "snapped" after the workers were fired, and tried to address the issue internally. But ultimately, he determined, "remaining an Amazon VP would have meant, in effect, signing off on actions I despised. So I quit."
The former VP added, "Here are some descriptive phrases you might use to describe the activist-firing. 1. 'Chickens**t.' 2. 'Kill the messenger.' 3. 'Never heard of the Streisand effect.' 4. 'Designed to create a climate of fear.' 5. 'Like painting a sign on your forehead saying, 'Either I am guilty, or has something to hide.'"
According to Bray, his departure from Amazon means he is leaving nearly $1 million in salary and vested shares on the table, and that he walked away from "the best job" he's ever had.

Anything else?

The New York Post reported that Amazon's "warehouses in areas hit hardest by the coronavirus — including New York, Detroit and Chicago — have seen protests amid reports that dozens of warehouse workers have fallen ill."
The outlet noted that Amazon has defended its firing of a number of activist workers who have attempted to stage protests over conditions during the COVID-19 crisis. Two of the workers mentioned in Bray's open letter, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, were let go for "repeatedly violating internal policies," according to the company.

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