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Amazon shareholders are demanding an independent audit of how the company treats employees

Amazon shareholders are demanding an independent audit of how the company treats employees

Citing a recent investigation into the working conditions of its employees, a group of Amazon shareholders has filed a motion asking the board of directors to conduct an independent audit on workplace health and safety at the company. The proposal calls for the audit to be conducted with input from Amazon employees and experts in workplace safety and surveillance.

Shareholders said, "As Amazon strives to become 'Earth's safest place to work,' there is a need for a review of practices that have made the company a leader in workplace injuries and the target of criticism and regulation." " Resolution reads. "With monitoring and productivity quotas associated with high injury rates, we urge Amazon to conduct an independent audit of these practices."

If Amazon doesn't challenge the resolution, shareholders will vote on it at the company's annual shareholder meeting in May.

Mary Beth Gallagher is director of engagement at Dominy Impact Investments, which filed the motion. She said Amazon needs to evaluate its business model as well as its high turnover and injury rate. Gallagher pointed to a number of safety issues and concerns raised about Amazon workplaces during the pandemic, and the deaths of six people at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois that was hit by a tornado on December 10.

All the incidents have drawn "serious questioning and scrutiny from legislators, regulators and the public," Gallagher said in a statement emailed to The Verge. She said Dominy wants the audit to "examine how employee productivity metrics and monitoring contribute to a less secure and stable work environment".

Courtney Brown, a worker at an Amazon Fresh warehouse in New Jersey and leader of the workers' group United for Respect, testifies before Congress on December 7 about working conditions at her facility. She said she carries 50,000 groceries for delivery every day, stepping inside and outside in temperatures of minus -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Since there is a shortage of staff in the warehouse, there are fewer leisure opportunities. And, she said, workers are monitored from the moment they enter the parking lot.

"If we fall behind in any way during our 11-hour shift, we risk being disciplined," Brown told the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth. “We are pushed to our limits to such an extent that we cannot even take regular bathroom breaks. Often we have to run from the bathroom in less than two minutes so that we don't have any trouble."

Shareholders want the audit to evaluate the company's productivity quotas, monitoring practices and injury rates, and the effects of these practices on the business. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment from The Verge about the offer.

Gallagher says his company hopes a thorough evaluation will "bring a change in corporate policy that makes workplaces safer for associates and cements Amazon as the industry leader in health and safety," it says. . that he wants to be."

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