Amazon Investors Push for Racial Audit, Worker on Board

Saijel Kishan

Bloomberg News

Dec 18, 2020

An Amazon.com Inc. institutional investor is pushing the world’s largest online retailer to conduct an audit on racism and diversity. Three other shareholders want Amazon to name a worker to its board.

The New York State Common Retirement Fund filed a shareholder resolution calling on the company to assess its impact on civil rights, racial equity, diversity and inclusion. The retirement fund suggested that Amazon solicit input from employees and civil-rights groups for the report and post it on the company website.

America’s second-largest employer has been criticized for its treatment of workers as the wealth of Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos has surged. The New York retirement fund cited alleged discrimination of the company’s Black and Latinx workers, their low wages and exposure to dangerous working conditions, including Covid-19, as well as the air pollution from distribution facilities located in minority neighborhoods.

“Amazon has said it stands with the nationwide movement to identify and bring an end to systemic racism, yet it continues to face claims of racial discrimination,” said Thomas P. DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller and trustee of the New York fund, which has $226 billion of assets. The company can benefit by studying these issues and developing a plan to address them, as well as ensuring that its policies and actions truly align with its words, he said.