Seattle security officers urge Amazon to improve human rights practices—at home and abroad
At a recent Amazon shareholder meeting, Seattle security officer Bryce Walker of SEIU Local 6 spoke in support of a shareholder resolution introduced by the global non-profit organization Sum of Us. Sum of Us works to improve corporate accountability around the world.
The resolution would have forced Amazon to publish information on its human rights risks online. Sum of Us was especially concerned with issues around Amazon security contractor Security Industry Specialists (SIS) and compliance with local and federal laws.
Last year, Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights reached a settlement with SIS over allegations of systemic violations of the city’s paid sick leave law. SIS also settled a federal complaint alleging violations of security officers’ freedom to stick together in a union.
“If a company with your resources is unable to identify human rights abuses going on around your headquarters that the city’s office of civil rights has confirmed, then this speaks to the need for Amazon to recognize that there is a problem in the way the company monitors human rights risks,” he said.
“I am concerned that this is just the tip of the iceberg. If Amazon cannot monitor human rights violations at its headquarters, what would make us believe that there are not human rights abuses going on in the factories?”
The resolution—which security officers supported for the second year in a row—got almost five times as many votes as last year, which got a lot of people’s attention.