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Amazon “Chicken-shit” says senior engineer. Quits $1M job in disgust over virus handling

PHOTO: Tim Bray says the company has become 'toxic' and the firings are 'designed to create a climate of fear.'

PortandTerminal.com, May 4, 2020

“Remaining an Amazon VP would have meant, in effect, signing off on the actions I despised. So I resigned” said Tim Bray.

SEATTLE, WA – We’ve learned a lot about Amazon during the COVID-19 pandemic and not all of it good.

We discovered how incredibly reliant we have all become on their service – now especially when shopping online can be a matter of life or death as we avoid deadly infection. We’ve watched Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world long before the pandemic, add another $24 billion to his net-worth as a result of our reliance on his business.

Along the way, we’ve also watched with continuing dismay at how the company treats its workers.

As the pandemic has played out, there have been dozens of confirmed coronavirus cases at warehouses around the country, and workers have repeatedly said the company isn’t doing enough to protect them. Last week according to VICE, Amazon ended a program that allowed workers to take unlimited unpaid time off if they fear getting sick from the coronavirus. 

Stories surfaced of unrest in Amazon warehouses, workers raising alarms about being uninformed, unprotected, and frightened. 

Tim Bray, former VP Amazon

Imagine that you are immunocompromised or have a loved one at home who is – COVID-19 could be a death sentence. You’re not asking to be paid by Amazon – you just want to be able to stay home, avoid getting sick and know that you have a job to come back to later. Too bad according to Amazon – You’re fired.

What if you feel that you are being treated unfairly and want to speak out as some brave Amazon workers have? Odds are that if you do, you will be summarily fired and have your reputation trashed along the way. He’s not “smart or articulate” Amazon publicly said as it trashed one whistle-blower at the company.

Tim Bray refused to sign-off on it

FILE PHOTO: Tim Bray, just quit his million-dollar job at Amazon

Tim Bray is the highest-level (now former) Amazon employee to speak out about the company’s workplace culture and treatment of its workers. He has been well-known in the software engineering world for decades.

Bray, who has worked at the company for nearly six years, called the company “chickenshit” for firing and disparaging employees who have organized protests. He also said the firings are “designed to create a climate of fear.”

In an open letter that he posted onto his private website, the senior Amazon said enough is enough and quit his job at Amazon. “I quit in dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of Covid-19.”

Bray is also someone who has put his money where his mouth his. “What with big-tech salaries and share vestings, this will probably cost me over a million (pre-tax) dollars, not to mention the best job I’ve ever had, working with awfully good people. So I’m pretty blue” he revealed in his open letter.

What does Amazon say?

Sweaty Bald man wiping his face with a white handkerchief
FILE PHOTO: Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, has been directly implicated in the decision to smear Amazon employees who have spoken out about the company

In statements to Motherboard, Amazon has said its own protesting workers are “spreading misinformation and making false claims about Amazon,” and that it “objects to the irresponsible actions of labor groups.”

In a meeting attended by Jeff Bezos, Amazon executives said that they believe Smalls is not “smart or articulate,” and that publicly they would focus on “laying out the case for why the organizer’s conduct was immoral, unacceptable, and arguably illegal,” according to leaked notes from that meeting obtained by VICE News.

No doubt, they will soon be issuing disparaging statements about Tim Bray as well.

Meet Tim Bray

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