• has warned employees against speaking about climate change
  • It threatens to fire two employees involved in the climate change movement
  • One of these employees blasted Amazon's lax climate change policies

Update: An Amazon spokesperson has reached out to International Business Times stating that the policy regarding external communications has been recently updated to make it easier for employees to participate in external activities like speeches and media interviews through an intranet page for approvals.

“Our policy regarding external communications is not new and we believe is similar to other large companies ... As with any company policy, employees may receive a notification from our HR team if we learn of an instance where a policy is not being followed,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.

“Everyone at Amazon is a builder and encouraged to work within their teams to innovate on behalf of our customers, which includes suggesting improvements to how we operate through those internal channels.”

Original article below:

Climate change activists at that want the company to do more to fight climate change are striking back at Amazon's threat to silence them and fire the more outspoken among their members.

Citing company rules, Amazon on Thursday warned to make good on its threat to fire Maren Costa, a user experience designer, and Jamie Kowalski, a software development engineer. Amazon previously warned both Costa and Kowalski they would be "terminated" if they continued to speak out against Amazon’s business. The company's legal and human resources representatives said both employees are in violation of the company’s external communications policy.

In defense of Costa and Kowalski, the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) issued a series of tweets slamming Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, for their strong arm tactics in trying to silence them.

"Jeff Bezos and Amazon executives are threatening to fire a few members of our group after we spoke up about wanting our company to be a leader in the worldwide effort to avert climate catastrophe," tweeted the group, which then issued a press statement in response to what it called Amazon’s “intimidation tactics.”

In this statement, AECJ said four of its members are being targeted by Amazon's human resources and legal departments for speaking out publicly and to the press. It said in two cases, employees (Costa and Kowalski) received follow-up emails threatening their firing if they continued to talk publicly about climate change activism.

"This is not the time to silence those who are speaking out," said Costa in the statement. She said she was threatened with termination after talking to The Washington Post, which is owned by Bezos.

Founded in 2018, AECJ describes itself as a group of Amazon employees "who believe it’s our responsibility to ensure our business models don’t contribute to the climate crisis." It staged a walk-out in September 2019 to support the Global Climate Strike. The strike was joined by thousands of Amazon employees across the United States. AECJ continues to demand Bezos address their concerns about Amazon's role in fostering the climate crisis.

Amazon said it hired some 200,000 full- and part-time workers worldwide to help its holiday operations to bring its global workforce to 750,000
Amazon said it hired some 200,000 full- and part-time workers worldwide to help its holiday operations to bring its global workforce to 750,000 AFP / INA FASSBENDER

AECJ wants Bezos and Amazon to make bigger commitments to reduce greenhouse gases and to refuse to work with the polluting oil and gas industries. Apart from joining the Global Climate Strike, AECJ supported a failed shareholder resolution on climate change 2018. Bezos did announce a sweeping climate change plan for Amazon, but this wasn't quite broad enough for AECJ.

The resolution was presented during Amazon’s annual shareholders meeting in May 2019. It urged Bezos to develop a comprehensive climate change plan and reduce Amazon's carbon footprint. Amazon rejected this demand.

In April, AECJ published a letter accusing Amazon of donating to climate-delaying legislators and urged the company to transition away from fossil fuels. In September, Bezos said Amazon plans to rely on renewable energy entirely by 2030 and to have a net zero carbon emissions by 2040. Bezos' plans were largely seen as a response to employees’ demands.