LOCAL NEWS

Two employees fired for speaking out against Amazon’s role in climate crisis

Apr 14, 2020, 4:53 PM
amazon, Amazon warehouses...
(Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
(Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Amazon has recently received criticism for the working conditions in its warehouses during the coronavirus outbreak, with workers across the county speaking out about the lack of protection with increased health risks. On Friday, two user experience designers who have been leaders in the group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice were abruptly fired from the company.

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The climate group has called for Amazon to take action to mitigate its effect and impact on the climate crisis. The two workers who were fired, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, have been leaders in this internal movement that has pushed Amazon to action on climate change issues, including the Climate Pledge.

The firing came after the two employees shared a petition from warehouse workers who were worried about the risk to their health during the global pandemic.

“I truly believe Amazon can play an incredibly powerful and good role during COVID-19,” Cunningham said. “But to do that, we have to really listen to the workers who are on the front line, who don’t feel adequately protected. Who fear getting coronavirus, or giving it to their families and the wider public.”

Amazon also reportedly deleted an invite to a webcast the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice sent on Friday inviting workers to hear from warehouse workers directly. Climate justice activist Naomi Klein was scheduled to join the webcast.

Cunningham and Costa said they still plan on hosting the virtual event.

“Not only did Amazon fire us, they also deleted all the emails about a meeting we had set up for tech workers to talk with warehouse workers to hear what it is like working in warehouses during coronavirus,” Costa said.

Recently, an Amazon employee who organized a walkout at a warehouse in New York was fired as well. Leaders and members of the Employee for Climate Justice group have also had their jobs threatened in the past for speaking out against the company.

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“We support every employee’s right to criticize their employer’s working conditions, but that does not come with blanket immunity against any and all internal policies,” an Amazon spokesperson told KIRO Radio on Tuesday. “We terminated these employees for repeatedly violating internal policies.”

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Two employees fired for speaking out against Amazon’s role in climate crisis