Amazon declined to comment on Bray’s departure for this story.
Bray’s blog post speaks to the growing tension brewing inside Amazon’s ranks during this unprecedented public health crisis. The pandemic has led to increased demand for a number of Amazon’s services and also increased scrutiny. There has been renewed worker activism at a number of Amazon facilities and, with it, support from activist corporate employees who have challenged the company’s actions prior to the pandemic.
Bray, in a list of adjectives describing the firing of activists in his blog post, alleged that the terminations are “designed to create a climate of fear.”
“Firing whistleblowers isn’t just a side-effect of macroeconomic forces, nor is it intrinsic to the function of free markets. It’s evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture. I choose neither to serve nor drink that poison,” wrote Bray, adding that he first escalated his frustrations “through the proper channels and by the book” because “VPs shouldn’t go publicly rogue.”
“I’m not at liberty to disclose those discussions, but I made many of the arguments appearing in this essay,” said Bray, who worked for Amazon’s cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services. “That done, remaining an Amazon VP would have meant, in effect, signing off on actions I despised. So I resigned.”
Cunningham, a founding member of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice who was fired from her role as a user experience designer last month, told CNN Business that Bray “was our only VP who signed” the open letter.
“It is incredibly heartening to see someone so high up in the company act with such integrity,” said Cunningham. “I think the purpose and intent behind firing Maren and I was to scare people. People are scared — we’re in the middle of a pandemic — but also, people are angry, as Tim was, by what happened.”