Jan 02, 2020
Greenpeace USA asked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Friday whether he stood on the side of humanity or that of "climate denial and delay" after a group of Amazon employees said the company threatened to fire them for speaking out about the company's role in the climate crisis.
According to Amazon Employees for Climate Justice--a group founded by workers at the e-commerce giant "who believe it's our responsibility to ensure our business models don't contribute to the climate crisis"--employees who spoke out about the company's "responsibility in the global climate emergency" were contacted by members of Amazon's legal and human resources team and received emails saying they'd be fired if they continued making public comments about the climate impact of Amazon's business practices.
"This is not the time to shoot the messengers," Amazon employee Maren Costa said in a statement Thursday. "This is not the time to silence those who are speaking out."
The statement said the intimidation came a month after Amazon announced its "climate pledge." The timing of that pledge, said the group, was noteworthy given that it came a day before some Amazon workers were to walk off the job and take part in the September 20 Global Climate Strike.
Also in September--just a day after the workers had announced they were planning to take part in the climate strike--the company updated its communications policy, the workers added.
"This policy change has nothing to do with sharing confidential company information," Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said in a Twitter thread Thursday. This "change was made to explicitly forbid employees from speaking out about publicly available information, such as Amazon's partnerships with fossil fuel companies or the funding of lobbyists and think tanks who publicly deny climate change and/or actively work to suppress climate change legislation."
The thread encouraged others to pressure Bezos to do more to be a climate leader.
"How will the world remember Jeff Bezos in the era of climate emergency?" the group asked. "Will he use his immense economic power to help, or not? Please tell @Amazon and @JeffBezos: Our world is on fire & desperately needs climate leadership. Stop silencing employees who are sounding the alarm."
\u201cTell @Amazon and @JeffBezos: the world is on fire. Climate leaders don't silence employees who are sounding the alarm. This is sick behavior--please RT this at Amazon. \nhttps://t.co/wvAaY505db\u201d— Bill McKibben (@Bill McKibben) 1577985190
Amazon is threatening to fire courageous workers who are demanding the company cut emissions in line with science. Tell @Amazon + @JeffBezos that the planet is burning + self-styled climate leaders don't silence people who are sounding the alarm. https://t.co/asiSgLGWul pls RT!
-- Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) January 2, 2020
"The climate crisis is already affecting all of us," said Bobby Gordon, a finance manager at Amazon. "We cannot confront this monumental problem, let alone avert catastrophic damage to our planet and society, if we are not allowed to speak up about it."
We're optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.
We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter counts.
Your contribution supports this new media model—free, independent, and dedicated to uncovering the truth. Stand with us in the fight for social justice, human rights, and equality. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.