Amazon workers protest selling books they say are anti-trans

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A group of Amazon employees broke up a Pride Month event at the company’s Seattle headquarters on Wednesday, protesting the company’s continued sale of books they say are anti-trans.

According to an employee who attended the event, about 30 employees took part in the protest, interrupting Amazon’s annual pride flag raising by posing on the ground wrapped in trans flags. Participants are members of No hate at Amazoncalling on the company to stop producing and selling books the group says are harmful to transgender youth.

“Amazon has permanent policies against hate speech in its content and technically they say we don’t sell it,” said an organizer for the group, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. “But we’ve obviously seen through a number of these books that that’s not the case when it comes to transphobic material.” (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

“As a company, we strongly believe in diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser. “As a bookseller, we choose to offer a very wide range of viewpoints, including books that conflict with our corporate values ​​and positions. We believe it is possible to do both: provide a wide range of viewpoints in our bookstore and support diversity, equity and inclusion.

He added that the company respects the right of its employees to express themselves.

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The Amazon group is part of a larger technology workers movement including employees of Google, Twitter and Facebook who have organized with the aim of not only improving working conditions, but also influencing broader company policies. Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, which was founded by two employees who later settled charges of unlawful retaliation after Amazon fired them, said continued put pressure on the company on its environmental record. And Amazon employees recently unite to protest of the company’s participation in Project Nimbus, an Israeli government cloud computing contract.

Unions have also made inroads at tech companies like Apple and Amazon, where warehouse workers at a Staten Island factory voted to join the Amazon Labor Union, which plans to fight for salary increases and longer breaks. The company contests the result of this election.

In March, the No Hate at Amazon group circulated a petition demanding that Amazon stop selling titles like “Johnny the Walrus” and “Irreversible Damage,” and that the company set up an oversight board that would allow employees to democratically determine what content is appropriate for sale on the site . The organizer said at least 500 people using verified Amazon email addresses have signed the petition, which was presented to company leadership last summer. At the time, some employees quit over the company’s refusal to stop selling these books, BNC News reported.

One of the attendees at Wednesday’s event, Lina Jodoin, a senior software engineer, said she also quit her job at Amazon this week for the same reason. “Even though it’s about books for sale, for me personally it’s also very much about the response we’ve had from management as we’ve tried to scale up,” said Jodoin, who worked for Amazon for eight years. . “I fear that bad actors outside of Amazon…will continue to escalate their harassment of our customers and employees, given that we have shown that there are no repercussions for harassing behavior in regards to relates to our market.”

LGBTQ rights group GLAAD also critical the decision to continue to sell the books opposed by the militant employees.

Amazon has already been willing to remove content from its site, pulling a book called ‘When Harry Became Sally’ in March 2021 because he described “LGBTQ+ Identity as Mental Illness.”

But more recently, he refused to remove those books — some of which, like “Irreversible Damage,” the company sells Kindle editions, and others, like “Desist, Detrans, & Detox: Getting Your Child Out of the Gender Cult” . “, it distributes through its direct publishing arm. Amazon continued to sell and print “irreversible damage” even after the American Booksellers Association apologized for its promotion and retail competitor Target pulled the book from its website in July.

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Amazon has clashed with some LGBTQ rights groups ahead of this year’s Pride Month, which began on Wednesday. Seattle Pride, the group that organizes the city’s annual Pride Parade, banned Amazon as a corporate sponsor in March and declined to accept a $100,000 donation due to the company’s ties to certain lawmakers and organizations. Specifically, the organization cited Amazon’s donations to lawmakers who voted against it. anti-discrimination bills and not deletion anti-gay groups who raise funds through his charity platform, AmazonSmile.

“Amazon has a long history of supporting Seattle Pride because we believe the rights of LGBTQ+ people should be protected,” Amazon’s Glasser said. “We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, were early and strong supporters of marriage equality, and are working at the US federal and state level on legislation, including supporting the passage of the Equality Act. We also work hard to foster an inclusive work environment, including providing resources and benefits to LGBTQ+ employees. »

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