Tim Bray shows integrity by standing up for fired employees
Tim Bray, a senior engineer at Amazon, resigned on Friday over concerns about the company’s decision to fire workers who were outspoken critics of its labor practices. Amazon has fired multiple warehouse employees who criticized the working conditions at Amazon facilities.
In a blog post, Bray said he snapped when he found out that Amazon fired Maren Costa and Emily Cunningham, two former user experience designers who spoke out about Amazon’s climate stance and treatment of the warehouse workers. Amazon has said it fired both women for “repeatedly violating internal policies.”
“I quit in dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about employees frightened of Covid-19,” Bray wrote in a blog post. “Remaining an Amazon VP would have meant, in effect, signing off on actions I despised. So I resigned.”
Bray has shown his support through more than just stepping away from his job
Before filing his resignation, Bray has shown his compassion and support for an employee advocacy group, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, which Costa and Cunningham were also a part of. Bray had also signed onto a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s board of directors. This letter received over 8,700 signatures, calling the company to make a climate change plan.
“I think people in general want to work for companies that they feel proud of,” Cunningham said to CNBC. “Amazon has an incredible opportunity to lead both in the coronavirus crisis and with the climate, but it has to start by listening to workers instead of firing us.”
Cunningham says she commends Bray for his integrity and for doing the right thing by them, and by the AWS. His actions could ignite a spark within others who feel the same way. There are many others that work within this company that feel as though they are mistreated and need to see change.
Amazon warehouse workers sparked action from the corporate world
Amazon warehouse workers across the country have asked to put in place greater health and safety precautions, such as closing down facilities where there have been notable positive cases of coronavirus, as well as additional cleaning. There has been protests in many cities where facilities are located, and last week they participated in a nationwide strike.
This sparked a response from corporate Amazon employees, and earlier this month they participated in a “sick out” to show their support for Costa and Cunningham, as well as the other warehouse workers. It was noted that over 500 tech employees participated in this movement.
Amazon has stated that they have taken precautions such as making employees wash their hands, practice social distancing, and using hand sanitizer when necessary. They go on to say that they started taking employees temperatures when they show up for work and gave them face masks to wear throughout the day.
“At the end of the day, the big problem isn’t the specifics of the Covid-19 response,” Bray said. “It’s that Amazon treats the humans in the warehouses as fungible units of pick-and-pack potential.”