Workers' Rights
11:36 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Security Guard Asks Amazon's Bezos: What Can Your Code Of Conduct Do For Me?

Amazon's latest innovations weren't the draw for security guards who attended the company's annual shareholders' meeting Wednesday to address CEO Jeff Bezos directly about workers' rights. 

Among those gathered was security officer Daivon Young, who works for a company called Security Industry Specialists and is hired to guard Amazon headquarters. 

Young became a shareholder in the company just to attend the meeting, so that he could address Bezos directly about holding his employer to Amazon’s code of conduct. Young alleges Security Industry Specialists has unfairly fired employees, and has harassed him as he passed out leaflets urging others to join him in forming a union.

"It's to the point where people have been fired for any type of cause. They have policies that don't make sense. They're unequal with their hiring and firing. Those things need to be addressed," Young said.

Young says Amazon should hold the security company to the same standards that it requires of its retail suppliers. They include fair treatment and freedom of association.

"So, I asked Jeff Bezos, 'What would your code of conduct do for me? What can you do about that?'" said Young, who stood up to ask the question during the meeting. "His address was no address. He just sent it off to another gentleman. The gentleman began to say, 'We're happy with the company that's there, and some people want a union and some people don't want a union.' And that was it." 

The gentleman, identified in the meeting only as "Tim," was Tim Halladay, Amazon's vice president of finance operations.

Young joined about 10 other protesters after the meeting, in front of a banner that said, “Amazon: Deliver opportunities for workers.” Employees of Security Industry Specialists working for Google and Apple are also trying to unionize. Others protested at the Oscars in February. The company claims it is the target of a "vicious" campaign by the Service Employees International Union to organize its employees.

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