Amazon Shareholders: Vote with us and deliver accountability

To
Amazon Shareholders,

Vote with us and deliver accountability.

Amazon is failing us—consumers, workers, small businesses, shareholders, communities, our democracy, and the planet. It is also failing as a business: the company is hemorrhaging money for the first time in nearly a decade, shuttering entire offices and business lines, and firing tens of thousands of workers. This is because Amazon’s business model—extracting from our people and planet at historic speeds—is and always has been unsustainable. 

As evidence of serious wrongdoing mounts across its business lines, CEO Andy Jassy offers excuses and refuses to take responsibility for the company’s failings. As shareholders, you have an opportunity to take a stand and vote in support of common sense, industry-standard proposals calling for more accountability from Amazon. The signed organizations below urge you to:

Vote to protect human rights.

“By neglecting the human rights record of its business partners, Amazon is expanding the tech capacity of violent state actors, like the Israeli government and military. It’s crucial that shareholders act on the right side of history by voting yes on human rights due diligence.”

-Palestinian Amazon Tech Worker organizing with No Tech for Apartheid

Amazon allows its technology to be misused by powerful government entities with a pattern of human rights abuses. From police and prison contracts to immigrant tracking systems to cloud computing for dangerous foreign governments, Amazon’s unprecedented technological power is being used to undermine the human rights of marginalized peoples and communities around the world. Amazon’s own tech workers have called on the company to prioritize human rights to no avail.

Amazon must take responsibility for when its technologies are being used to violate human rights. The legal, regulatory, and reputational risks of not addressing human rights threats poses significant material risks.

Shareholders can start ensuring Amazon takes responsibility by voting yes to:

Human rights due diligence: conduct an independent audit to determine whether customers’ use of Amazon’s products contributes to human rights violations, in the United States and around the world – proposal filed by American Baptist Home Mission Society. 

Transparency on censorship: disclose government demands to restrict content, including LGBTQ+-related products in the United Arab Emirates – proposal filed by Adrian Dominican Sisters.

Studying the potential harms of Amazon’s facial recognition technology: independently evaluate the extent facial recognition may endanger, threaten or violate privacy and/ or civil rights, and unfairly or disproportionately target or surveil people of color, immigrants and activists in the US; and, examine the use of this technology by authoritarian or repressive governments – proposal filed by Harrington Investments.

Vote to strengthen worker rights.

“In my facility, injuries have included torn ligaments, broken bones, and head traumas. One of my coworkers lost the tip of her finger in a conveyor belt. Shareholders can play a role in ending the injury crisis at Amazon and vote to make Amazon the world’s safest workplace.”
 

– Paul Irving, STL8 worker organizing committee member  and member of Missouri Workers Center

There is a well-documented worker safety crisis at Amazon. The serious injury rate at Amazon warehouses is more than twice as high as at non-Amazon warehouses. This is caused by Amazon’s punitive management practices, which use constant surveillance and threat of termination to push workers to the breaking point. Amazon’s high-turnover model doesn’t just hurt workers; it costs the business $8 billion each year

Regulators are starting to take action. Amazon has been charged by the National Labor Relations Board for violating labor law by retaliating and conducting union busting campaigns against workers who advocate for safer conditions, fined by Washington State OSHA for willfully violating worker safety laws, cited for OSHA violations at seven warehouses, and is under investigation by the Department of Justice for misreporting injury data.

Shareholders can hold Amazon accountable for its impacts on workers by voting yes to:

Workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights: conduct an independent assessment of Amazon’s adherence to its stated commitment to workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights – proposal filed by SHARE.

Worker health and safety: conduct an independent audit of Amazon’s warehouse working conditions – proposal filed by Tulipshare.

Racial and gender pay equity: report on pay gaps across race and gender – proposal filed by Arjuna Capital.

Worker voice on the Board: add hourly Amazon Associates to the Board in order to improve working conditions and address ongoing problems with safety and retaliation – proposal filed by Oxfam.

Vote to protect our planet.

“Our communities should not be the dumping ground for Amazon’s dangerous truck pollution. Despite bold promises, Amazon continues to be a major polluter and it concentrates that pollution in communities of color like ours.” 

– Andrea Vidaurre with People’s Collective for Environmental Justice in the Inland Empire

Amazon directly acts in opposition to its own commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. In 2021, Amazon’s climate pollution grew by double digits, amounting to a 40% increase of its CO2 pollution rate from 2019. Amazon is now the third largest polluter in the world for last mile emissions. This truck traffic pollution is concentrated in Black and brown neighborhoods, where Amazon locates most of its warehouses. On top of that, Amazon’s data centers also guzzle gas and water from public supply with little transparency or accountability.

Amazon’s climate-detrimental practices are escalating reputational risks as well as employee satisfaction risks: Amazon Employees for Climate Justice have been urging the corporation to address environmental racism in its operations, but the corporation has ignored its own workers’ demands.

Shareholders can ensure Amazon starts taking responsibility for its climate impacts by voting yes to:

A Just Transition: report on how Amazon is addressing the impact of its climate change strategy on relevant stakeholders, including employees, workers in its supply chain, and communities in which it operates, consistent with the “Just Transition” guidelines of the International Labor Organization – the proposal was filed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

And, vote yes on the disclosure of:

Greenhouse gas emissions across Amazon’s supply chainproposal filed by Green Century Capital Management and Amalgamated Bank.

Carbon intensive investments in Amazon’s employee retirement optionsproposal filed by Sarah Sackner.

Amazon’s ocean plastic pollution and remediationproposal filed by As You Sow.

Anti-climate lobbying activities that contradict stated climate commitmentsproposal filed by Newground Social Investment.

This is not a solicitation of authority to vote your proxy. 

Videos

Signatories

For more information contact press [at] athenaforall.org