Two were threatened with termination, a spokesperson for Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said, and a total of four were told in meetings that they were in violation of the company’s policies on workers speaking to the press and on social media.
Maren Costa, a user experience designer, was threatened with termination after speaking to the Washington Post, according to a statement from the group. “This is not the time to shoot the messengers,” Costa said in the release. “This is not the time to silence those who are speaking out.”
Jaci Anderson, an Amazon spokesperson, said that the company’s external communications policy isn’t new. Employees are “encouraged to work within their teams,” and may suggest “improvements to how we operate through those internal channels.”
The tech industry has been roiled by employee activism in the past couple of years. After Google workers raised concerns about bidding on military contracts, the Alphabet Inc. search giant backed out of a US Defense Department drone program and decided not to bid on a contract to build cloud services for the Pentagon. Employees at Microsoft and Salesforce.com pressured executives about their companies’ dealings with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Amazon Employees for Climate Justice in late 2018 began discussing ways to persuade their employer to curb its contributions to climate change. The e-commerce company to that point had committed to powering some of its infrastructure with renewable energy sources, but stopped short of the bigger commitments — and transparency — promised by some other large tech and logistics companies.