6 May 2020

When big companies like Amazon engage in flagrant union-busting, they are usually disciplined enough to keep their true motivation hidden. But this week, Amazon vice president Tim Read quit over the company’s treatment of union organisers, and explained why in a blog post: “3,000 Amazon tech workers from around the world joined in the Global Climate Strike walkout… [Their] leaders were threatened with dismissal. … Fast-forward to the Covid-19 era. Stories surfaced of unrest in Amazon warehouses, workers raising alarms about being uninformed, unprotected, and frightened. Official statements claimed every possible safety precaution was being taken. Then a worker organizing for better safety conditions was fired, and brutally insensitive remarks appeared in leaked executive meeting notes where the focus was on defending Amazon ‘talking points’. … Warehouse workers reached out to AECJ for support. … [T]wo visible AECJ leaders, were fired on the spot… The justifications were laughable; it was clear to any reasonable observer that they were turfed for whistleblowing. … [R]emaining an Amazon VP would have meant, in effect, signing off on actions I despised. So I resigned.” Of course, they will simply replace Read with a more compliant corporate warrior — but it’s interesting when the mask slips.