Amazon Vice President Grows a Conscience and Quits

On May 1, Tim Bray, Amazon’s Vice President for Web Services, resigned from his position at the company. Here is the link to his blog, in which he expresses his thoughts. He saw Amazon warehouse workers get fired for speaking out against unsafe COVID-19 policies. He watched Amazon tech workers be disciplined for speaking out in support of warehouse workers. He heard workers’ testimony that Amazon and its Whole Foods stores kept workers at work without proper protection for themselves or for the products they were handling. As one worker at Whole Foods said, “No temp checks, no one asking if we’ve had symptoms within 72 hours, no conversation about our health, period.”

Bray writes in his blog:

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 [Chris Small], and brutally insensitive remarks appeared in leaked executive meeting notes where the focus was on defending Amazon “talking points”…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’m sure it’s a coincidence that every one of them is a person of color, a woman, or both. Right?… Let’s give one of those names a voice. Bashir Mohamed said “They fired me to make others scared.” Do you disagree?

No Mr. Bray, we don’t disagree. You just got introduced to the reality of working people exploited to produce the profits for capitalists. Problem is, we workers can’t just quit. Our only way out is forward, to reorganize the way the economy functions. Workers’ democracy, without private corporations making profits, is the solution. And that’s socialism.