This year, investors filed a record number of shareholder resolutions for consideration at Amazon’s annual general meeting. Covering everything from workplace safety to the impacts of surveillance, the resolutions reflect growing investor concern about the direction of the company and its impact on workers, communities, and the planet.
And it’s not just investors: Amazon associates are joining in too. From filing resolutions to speaking out on the issues they face at work, employees are organizing for change at Amazon.
Check out the full list of worker-supported resolutions, and explore some of our favorites in detail:
Additional Proposals to Support:
- Report on Customer Due Diligence
- Alternative Director Candidate Policy
- Report on Worker Health and Safety Differences
- Reporting on Risks Associated with the use of Certain Contract Clauses
- Additional Reporting on Freedom of Association
- Additional Reporting on Lobbying
- Report on Warehouse Working Conditions
- Additional Reporting onGender/Racial Pay
- Report on Customer Use of Certain Technologies
Daniel’s Worker Resolution
This year, for the first time ever, an Amazon warehouse worker has filed a shareholder resolution calling for an end to the company’s dangerous and inhumane workplace productivity metrics and surveillance.
Linked to Amazon’s high injury rates, these policies put relentless pressure on Amazon workers to push their bodies to the limit. Daniel will be presenting his floor resolution at this year’s Annual General Meeting.
Check out Daniel’s full resolution, or read what he’s sharing with fellow shareholders below:
My name is Daniel Olayiwola and I live in San Antonio, Texas. I am a father to a beautiful seven-month-old baby girl, alongside my partner. I’ve been working at Amazon for over four years, and I am a Member Leader with United for Respect. Before working at Amazon, I was an EMT for a homeless shelter in Florida and a medic in the United States Army. I’m here today to talk about my experience working for Amazon and why I filed a shareholder resolution calling for an end to Amazon’s exploitative and dangerous workplace practices.
Amazon’s use of productivity metrics and constant surveillance, monitoring, and fast pace of work is directly responsible for high injury rates at Amazon and for the grueling working conditions that put our physical and mental wellbeing at risk every single day. I feel like I am stepping into a sweatshop every time I clock in, a sweatshop where I am treated like a robot rather than a human being. This contributes to Amazon’s extremely high turnover rate, found to be 150% in a recent analysis.
As soon as I wake up, I am immediately overwhelmed with a wave of anxiety when thinking about going into work at Amazon. The 10 hour shifts are both mentally and physically draining, and they were especially draining when I worked overnight shifts at a fulfillment center and had an hour-long commute to my facility. The grueling pace of work burns me out, so much so that I’m not able to be fully present and give my all to spending time with my new daughter and partner. Amazon’s multi billion-dollar wealth is made possible by its same day delivery model. The corporation has achieved the speed and scale needed to keep up with this model by watching and timing associates like me and my coworkers when we don’t work fast enough. I and other pickers are pressured to pick 350-400 items per hour for 10 hours straight, and if I don’t meet that rate then I will be disciplined or retaliated against. Under this type of pressure and surveillance, employees don’t have time to adequately recover, rest, really use the bathroom, or prevent burn out. The end result: injury rates at Amazon are higher than at other warehouses.
I never thought I would have to use my background as an EMT and medic while working at Amazon; but not long ago, a diabetic coworker of mine suffered through a seizure due to him not having enough time to take his insulin on his lunch break. The walk from his station to the break room was so long that it nearly cut his lunch break time in half, and he surely would have been retaliated against if he took more time off than his allotted 30 minutes for lunch. Having dealt with diabetics before, I knew he was in critical condition while suffering through the seizure and needed to be taken to the hospital immediately, yet Amazon management refused to call an ambulance. The only reason they finally did so, was because I argued that this man’s health was in serious danger. This happens often and it’s because workers are pushed past their physical limits on the job in order to make sure they’re meeting quotas. Researchers and investigators have also found that Amazon’s high injury rates are linked to the company’s workplace productivity quotas and surveillance practices. Amazon’s injury rates are even higher when you look at its most automated facilities or during “peak”, typically the company’s most profitable season. “Prime Day 2019 was the biggest shopping event in the company’s history. It was also the year’s most dangerous week for injuries at Amazon fulfillment centers, with nearly 400 serious injuries recorded across the country.” The numbers speak for themselves.
It’s important to remember that these exploitative and dangerous workplace practices disproportionately impact Black, Brown, and other employees who hold marginalized identities like myself. Amazon continually uses its punitive quota policy (Rate and Time Off Task) to surveill and monitor our every move to make sure we keep up with the dangerous pace of work needed to hit unrealistic quotas. Amazon has allegedly used policies like Rate and Time Off Task to retaliate against people who organize and speak out against these unsafe working conditions, silencing workers for years. Over the last two years, Black and Brown workers like myself have been retaliated against after protesting unsafe practices.
This is why as a shareholder of Amazon.com, I have submitted a shareholder resolution calling on the company to end the use of productivity quotas and worker surveillance across its warehouse facilities and distribution network, including, the policies commonly known as Rate and Time off Task. I’m asking that these policies be ended for all Amazon employees, including drivers for Delivery Service Partners and other third-party contractor employees by August 31, 2022.
I’m asking Amazon to put an end to these unjust, racist, and exploitative workplace practices that leave workers injured, depleted, and mentally battered each day. In order to ensure the health of its employees, and to meet its commitment to being the “Earth’s Safest Place to Work”, Amazon must end its use of productivity metrics and workplace surveillance.
Thank you for your time.
Customer Due Diligence
Introduced by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, this proposal requests that Amazon commission a report on “Amazon’s customer due diligence process to determine whether customers’ use of its products and services with surveillance, computer vision, or cloud storage capabilities contributes to human rights violations.”
You can read the full text here, but to summarize its content:
As a leader in cloud computing and surveillance technology, Amazon serves government and government-affiliated customers around the world. Many of these customers have a history of rights violating behavior that poses risks to the company, including:
- U.S. immigration enforcement agencies use AWS in detention and deportation programs;
- AWS will host the Department of Homeland Security’s biometric database, which will impact millions of immigrants’ and citizens’ “ability to exercise their rights to protest, assemble, associate, and to live their daily lives”;
- Amazon has purchased thermal cameras from Chinese technology firm Dahua, which was blacklisted by the U.S. Government due to its role in the mass surveillance, internment, torture, and forced labor of the ethnic Uyghur minority;
- The Israeli military and government’s “Project Nimbus”, protested by Amazon employees, uses AWS to support and expand the apartheid system under which Palestinians in occupied territory are surveilled, unlawfully detained and tortured, and subjected to acts of forced displacement. The Israel Land Authority plans to use AWS as it expands illegal settlements and enforces segregation; and
- The United Arab Emirates government, which deploys a state surveillance apparatus against human rights defenders, journalists, and political dissidents, will partner with Amazon to develop three data centers in 2022.
In order to ensure that Amazon’s services, particularly their extensive surveillance technologies, aren’t used to undermine and threaten human rights, company employees, community orgs, and now investors are supporting this resolution for a report on Amazon’s customer due diligence process.
“Vote No” Campaign Against Directors McGrath and Huttenlocher
This year, Amazon shareholders, with 1.7 million combined shares (as of Feb 28, 2022) announced they would be voting against the election of Amazon board members, Judith McGrath and Daniel Huttenlocher at the company’s annual meeting. The shareholders, including the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, the New York State Common Retirement Fund, and the Office of Illinois State Treasurer, laid out their reasoning in this letter to shareholders.
These investors argue that Judith McGrath and Daniel Huttenlocher, who serve on Amazon’s board of directors and sit on the Leadership Development and Compensation Committee, have not adequately overseen the company’s human capital management. This failure is compounded, according to the investors, by the fact that the committee awarded CEO Andy Jassy $212 million in time-vested restricted stock in 2021.
Now, tired of inaction and continued workplace health and safety issues across Amazon’s distribution network, these shareholding are speaking up and reaching out to other investors, writing in their letter:
We urge you to vote “Against” directors Huttenlocher and McGrath for the following reasons:
- Despite repeated requests, the Committee has not met with institutional investors to discuss possible improvements to its human capital management oversight and disclosure
- The Committee has not adequately overseen health and safety, with adverse consequences for Amazon and its employees Amazon’s labor practices, repeatedly investigated by regulators, have been found to violate state and federal law and also conflict with Amazon’s own human rights policy
- Unusually high employee turnover relative to peer companies has some Amazon executives worried about running out of hirable employees in the U.S.
You can learn more about this campaign by visiting the “Delivering Accountability” website.