Hundreds of Amazon workers have spoken out against the company’s handling of climate change issues in a blog post first reported on by The Washington Post. More than 300 Amazon workers from the group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice shared their views on Amazon’s role in and response to the climate crisis in a Medium post published on Sunday.
Amazon has strict rules against workers commenting on the company’s policies, but these employees chose to sign their names to their statements, even if this action threatens their jobs. The group welcomed policies such as the company ordering 100,000 electric vans but called for more direct action such as the company committing to becoming carbon neutral within the next 10 years.
“The science on climate change is clear. It is unconscionable for Amazon to continue helping the oil and gas industry extract fossil fuels while trying to silence employees who speak out,” Senior Business Analyst Amelia Graham-McCann wrote.
Some people mentioned their concerns over Amazon’s role in overconsumption, with next-day delivery of almost any product imaginable encouraging people to buy items they don’t need. “Amazon’s recent initiatives on climate change are far from being sufficient,” Amazon Pay account management employee Martin Habfast Mass wrote. “Amazon should not encourage unsustainable overconsumption the way it does. The products it sells are jeopardizing entire ecosystems and, eventually, our society as a whole.”
Other employees mentioned the threat of termination looming over workers to stifle criticism as motivation for speaking out now. At the start of this year, several members of the group said the company threatened to fire them for making public comments about climate issues. “I think it is dangerous for any company of any size to silence the words of the employees who are looking for the welfare of everyone,” Software Development Engineer Vivek Koppuru wrote.
“Amazon threatens its innovation Backbone and customer Trust by stifling employee speech with Day-2 type of overly broad reactionary policies,” Software Development Engineer Alex Buell agreed. “These defensive retaliatory decisions only add to coworkers bound with Amazon for years that do not feel safe to speak up out of fear jeopardizing their visa status, and falling into demoralized ‘that’s-somebody-else’s-problem’ attitudes of follower-vassals instead of leader-owners.”
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