Hundreds of Amazon employees are planning to openly criticize the ecommerce behemoth’s business practices when it comes to fighting climate change.
Under Amazon's external communications policy, employees need prior authorization when speaking publicly about the company, as per media reports. However, a call for speaking up has been circulated among thousands of employees in Amazon, and they plan to either write down their comments or sign prewritten statements about the company’s practices related to immigration, warehouse working conditions, sustainability, etc. Once the email garners about 100 comments, the organizers plan to make them public on Medium.
“Let’s all speak up publicly and violate this policy together, making it unenforceable. Quotes about Amazon’s business can be critical or complimentary, because either way violates the policy,” the email says. “Of course, do NOT share confidential information.”
Some of Amazon’s employees have become critical about getting into business with major oil and gas companies, marketing of controversial facial recognition software to police departments, and its bidding for government defense contracts that would leverage the company’s tech for warfare.
The employees’ ethical concerns have sparked both internal and external debates about the projects.
Even though there might be several concerns that employees of Amazon might have because of which they might want to voice out their qualms to the press, the organizers of this drive are trying to raise a voice against the communication policy. In their email, as per media reports, the organizers even admitted that some communication policies are relevant especially in the case of confidential projects, however, letting companies silence the employees’ right to contribute to alleviate the growing climate crisis should not fall under the purview of the policy.
In November 2019, Google let go of four employees who were engaged with workplace organizing of some of the similar issues being debated at Amazon. The reasons for the termination included breaching of the company’s data privacy policies.