An Amazon employee group has had some hits lately, but promises to continue fighting for members who are concerned about the company's environmental, color, and environmental impact.
The company's shareholders recently rejected a decision supported by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice. In their proposal, Amazon was asked to report on the potential harm to color communities caused by aircraft, truck, and other machine pollution used to ship products ordered through the online retail giant. Just get the resolution 6% approval at the virtual meeting on May 27th.
In April, Amazon dismissed Maren Costa and Emily Cunningham, two of the group's leaders, "for repeated internal policy violations," a spokesman said.
The organization cannot be put off.
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"It's full steam ahead," said Costa. "Amazon doesn't go away and neither do we."
The layoffs occurred after the group invited Amazon warehouses and technicians to join one Webcast discussion about COVID-19 security. Many warehouse workers have contracted the virus and some have died, although the company has not released the number of cases. On his COVID-19 blog Amazon shares steps it has taken to protect workers, including improving warehouse cleaning and detachment, distributing masks, and offering temperature testing for employees.
The employee activist group was founded in early 2019 and initially gained ground among the workers Concerns about climate change. Their spring climate-focused shareholder resolution won an impressive 31% of the vote, and the company has since implemented a more aggressive environmental policy.
In the past few months, the group has highlighted problems that disproportionately affect black, indigenous and colored people. This is a step in the face of growing public awareness of the injustices of racist and ethnic minorities caused by the death of George Floyd and protests worldwide.
One might wonder whether the resolution supported by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice would have done better if the vote had taken place a week later.
An interesting question, said Costa. “The climate crisis is a racist crisis. You cannot solve one without solving the other. "
The resolution outlined Amazon warehouses in around three dozen cities across the country and their dependence on pollution from diesel trucks and airplane flights to ship goods. The neighboring communities in these areas have mostly black or Latin American populations. The emitted pollutants are associated with lung and breathing problems and are driving climate change.
"We are calling for racist justice assessments and community agreements to ensure that the community is supported, that it is good for the community – and there is nothing comparable at the moment," said Costa. She suspected that Amazon would counteract this by offering jobs to residents.
"But people shouldn't have to choose between a job and clean air for their kids," she said.
Amazon has opposed the shareholder resolution in its Power of attorney, Description of the order for 100,000 electric vehicles, the climate protection promise and other sustainability initiatives. The Seattle-based company added that employees earn at least a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour plus benefits.
"We regularly analyze the environmental and social impacts of our companies and assess how we can positively contribute to and control the impact on the many communities in which we operate in the United States and around the world," the statement said.
Amazon made no further comment on this story, but referred to a June 3rd blog post Announces his $ 10 million contribution to "organizations working for social justice and improving the lives of blacks and African Americans". Recipients include the ACLU Foundation, NAACP, the National Urban League and the United Negro College Fund.
Amazon is one of the most valuable companies in the world, the market value of which has repeatedly exceeded $ 1 trillion.
In addition to the "Amazon employees for climate justice" measure, many of the eleven shareholder resolutions at the annual meeting last month dealt with race and gender. It is a tough battle to get substantial support for the proposals, all of which have been rejected by the board. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, owns 15% of the shares alone Company shares.
Other resolutions dealing with race and percentage of vote for it::
Face detection (32%): For the second year in a row, shareholders asked Amazon to report whether its facial recognition software could pose issues of civil rights and privacy. After the resolution, Amazon should have investigated these issues, recognized whether recognition software was used by authoritarian governments, and assessed the financial risks associated with the controversial technology.
Wage differentials (15%): Amazon was asked to report the global mean wage differentials between employees of different races and genders. Amazon reports a gender pay gap every year.
Hate speech (35%): The shareholders wanted Amazon to report on its efforts to prevent the sale of items that promote discrimination in its market. The resolution is based on reports that anti-Semitic books, racist violence, and other offensive goods are available for purchase on Amazon.com.
Ascent rate (12%): In order to better understand the effects of discrimination on job mobility, shareholders wanted Amazon to report on the “rate of ascent”. The report would detail the time between promotions for employees of different races and genders.