Amazon executive says he quit over “whistleblower” firings

An Amazon executive said he quit his job at the online retailer “in dismay” over the firing of employees who spoke up about the conditions inside the company’s warehouses and its record on climate change. 

Tim Bray, a vice president at the company, wrote in a blog post on Monday that he left his job last week after Amazon fired several workers last month who publicly criticized the company. The dismissals are “evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture,” he said.

The firings came amid growing concerns from workers who walked off the job at warehouses in New York, Detroit and Chicago, drawing attention to issues such as a lack of personal protective equipment.

Amazon, which is based in Seattle, declined to comment.

Bray specifically cited the firings of two employees who criticized the company’s warehouse operations and climate policies, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, as a breaking point for him. 

“The justifications were laughable; it was clear to any reasonable observer that they were turfed for whistleblowing.” Bray wrote in his post. “At that point I snapped. VPs shouldn’t go publicly rogue, so I escalated through the proper channels and by the book.” 

Bray said he wasn’t at liberty to disclose those conversations. He added that continuing working at Amazon would have meant “signing off on actions I despised. So I resigned.”

“I’m pretty blue”

Among those fired was a New York warehouse worker who led a strike last month, pushing Amazon for more protections for workers against the coronavirus. At the time, Amazon said the worker was fired for not obeying social-distancing rules.

Amazon and Instacart workers walking off job amid safety concerns over coronavirus

Bray, who said he worked at Amazon’s cloud business for more that five years, said his resignation will cost him personally because of the loss of salary and company stock. 

“This will probably cost me over a million (pre-tax) dollars, not to mention the best job I’ve ever had, working with awfully good people,” he wrote. “So I’m pretty blue.”

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