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Worker Tonya Ramsay, right, with a banner outside Amazon's DTW1 distribution center in Romulus, Michigan, April 1, 2020 (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Worker Tonya Ramsay, right, with a banner outside Amazon's DTW1 distribution center in Romulus, Michigan, April 1, 2020 (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Amazon Vice President Resigns in Protest of Warehouse Employee Layoffs

 One of the world's biggest companies has faced severe challenges for its lack of worker protections during COVID-19.

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Tim Bray, vice president of Amazon's Web Services resigned in protest of the company's executive layoffs and denounced worker treatment in its warehouses. 

The vice president and engineer of Amazon AWS servers said he "resigned in dismay over warehouse employees who feared COVID-19.” Bray said in a blog post that the move will cost him more than $1 million.

When a co-worker calling for better security conditions was fired, followed by two other critics, Bray decided he had to resign. Being a vice president of Amazon would have meant, in effect, accepting the actions he despised.

 In several communications, Amazon has indicated that they are prioritizing solving this problem through a massive reinforcement of warehouse security. 

"I really believe this: I have heard detailed descriptions from people I trust about the intense work and the large investments,” he said.

However, Bray does not stop believing in the workers' complaints.

 "At the end of the day, the big problem is not the details of Covid-19's response. It's that Amazon treats humans in the warehouses like things they pick and pack. It's just that it's not just Amazon, it's how 21st-century capitalism is done," added the former VP of AWS.

The engineer not only gave his opinion on the specific problem in warehouses but also added that Jeff Bezos' company has demonstrated a great ability to detect opportunities and build processes that repeat themselves in order to exploit them.

"They have a lack of vision about the human costs of continued growth and the accumulation of wealth and power. If we don't like certain things that Amazon is doing, we need to set up legal barriers to stop them. We don't need to invent anything new; a combination of antitrust legislation, living wages, and worker empowerment, rigorously enforced, would offer a clear way forward," Bray concluded.


 

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