Amazon employees are making themselves heard.
On Sunday, Amazon employees spoke out about the company’s climate policies through a post on Medium organized by the group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice. 357 employees individually shared their views on the company’s climate practices.
Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported that in the fall of 2019, Amazon warned at least two employees who spoke up about the company’s environmental practices, that additional comments could result in the termination of their employment, citing the company’s external communications policy.
According to the Washington Post, Amazon updated its communication policy the day after plans to attend the global climate strikes in September of 2019 were emailed among Amazon employees. The updated policy required a “business justification” for external communications, the approval of which could take up to two weeks.
This makes the latest move from Amazon employees especially risky. Despite the risk, some employees see it as their duty to speak up.
In a press release from Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, Sarah Tracy, a software development engineer who was also quoted in the post, said “As Amazon workers, we are responsible for not only the success of the company, but its impact as well. It’s our moral responsibility to speak up, and the changes to the communications policy are censoring us from exercising that responsibility. Now is not the time to silence employees, especially when the climate crisis poses such an unprecedented threat to humanity.”
Paul Johnston, a former Amazon employee, left the company “in large part because of Amazon’s lack of significant climate action,” according to the press release. “When I raised climate change concerns while an employee … I was met with very little support for change, and with the standard PR lines about how seriously Amazon was taking the issue,” Johnston said. “Nothing changed until employees began speaking out.”