'Deeply offensive to the core': Amazon VP hits back at former colleague who quit in protest after the company fired whistleblowers who raised safety concerns

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'Deeply offensive to the core': Amazon VP hits back at former colleague who quit in protest after the company fired whistleblowers who raised safety concerns
The inside of an Amazon fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey on December 2, 2019.REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo
  • Engineer Tim Bray announced on Monday that he quit his job as a VP at Amazon because of the company's firing of employees who raised concerns about safety in warehouses amid the spread of COVID-19.
  • One of his former colleagues, Brad Porter, who is currently a VP and engineer at Amazon, responded to Bray's criticism, calling it "deeply offensive to the core."
  • Porter refuted some of Bray's criticisms, but did not specifically address Amazon's firing of critical employees — the main reason for Bray's departure — only saying that "you can't entirely eliminate the fear and concerns that we all share."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

After former Amazon VP Tim Bray announced on Monday that he quit his job over the company's firing of employees who raised concerns about conditions in the company's warehouses, one of Bray's former colleagues has publicly responded to the criticism, calling Bray's comments "deeply offensive to the core."

Bray, a longtime engineer at Amazon, said in a blog post that he "quit in dismay" over the "chickenshit" firing of employees who had spoken out about the company's handling of the coronavirus pandemic in its warehouses. Bray said "Amazon treats the humans in the warehouses as fungible units of pick-and-pack potential."

Brad Porter, a current vice president and engineer at the company, said in a LinkedIn post on Tuesday that Bray "is simply wrong" and that "nothing could be farther [sic] from the truth."

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Porter disputed Bray's comments that Amazon has been slow to respond, writing in his post on Tuesday that "I believe a strong case can be made that Amazon has responded more nimbly to this crisis than any other company in the world."

He said the company is "like an ant farm that can adapt extremely quickly" and touted the company's social-distancing processes, adding that Amazon is "developing mobile ultraviolet sanitation."

But, Bray's departure from the company revolves mostly around its firing of employees over their criticism, which Porter addressed by saying that "you can't entirely eliminate the fear and concerns that we all share."

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The employees who raised concerns said Amazon had not taken proper safety precautions. Some workers who had organized or participated in walkouts were fired, though Amazon said they were dismissed over policy violations. At least one Amazon warehouse employee has died because of the coronavirus.

Amazon has previously told Business Insider that the company has taken various steps to protect workers at its facilities, such as more frequent cleanings and altered training processes.

New York's attorney general, Letitia James, said last month that the firing of an employee at a Staten Island facility could have violated labor laws, and she has called on labor watchdogs to open an investigation.

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