A top official at the Amazon Web Services (AWS) finally called it quit after several employees were fired for being vocal about the conditions on Amazon's warehouse amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
AWS VP and Distinguished Engineer Tim Bray resigned from his post at the tech giant company after more than years of service. Bray described his stint at AWS as 'rewarding and fun." But on a sad note, Bray also expressed his dismay for the firing of whistleblowers who were "making noise" about warehouse employees frightened by COVID-19.
Bray announced on May 1 was his last day with the retail giant as many Amazon employees called out sick for a May Day Strike.
Dismay on the Firing of Employees
Bray is notable for being a co-author of XML. He spent half a decade with Amazon, after working for Google and Sun. Bray said that his work at Amazon was "the best job" he ever had. But he also noted that he reached a breaking point over the firings of organizers Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa.
Both Costa and Cunningham claimed that their dismissal from work was due to their vocal criticisms on Amazon's environmental record and treatment of employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The two employees were both members of the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, an organization of employees "who believe it's our responsibility to ensure our business models don't contribute to the climate crisis."
However, Amazon has denied the allegation that the two employees were fired because they were very vocal about the treatment of workers during the pandemic. Amazon said that they support every employee's right to criticize the company. However, they are still bound to comply with internal policies, which the tech firm claimed that Costa and Cunningham have repeatedly violated.
Bray said that he tried to convey his concern through available official channels before deciding to resign. Bray explained that if he remains with his position in Amazon, it is like signing off on actions that he detested. So, he decided to resign. "The victims weren't abstract entities but real people; here are some of their names: Courtney Bowden, Gerald Bryson, Maren Costa, Emily Cunningham, Bashir Mohammed, and Chris Smalls. I am sure it is a coincidence that every one of them is a person of color, a woman, or both. Right?" Bray told TechCrunch.
Bray's post indicated an unfair power structure inside Amazon, wherein he served as an executive. His post mainly focuses on how employees are being treated in Amazon warehouses worldwide in connection with its response to COVID-19 response, as well as other complaints involving the late-stage capitalism for which the company has undoubtedly played a role.
AWS is a More Ethical Organization
At his former division, AWS, Bray stated that AWS, the cloud computing subsidiary of Amazon, where he worked, is a different story. Bray explained that at AWS, it treats its employees humanely, strives to create a work-life balance and challenges to move the diversity needle. He noted that AWS is a more ethical organization. "I genuinely admire its leadership," Bray said. He remarked that workers at AWS are empowered. "The average pay is very high, and any unhappy employees can walk across the street and get another job paying the same or better," Bray said to TechCrunch.