This week, thousands of Amazon employees requested paid time off to vote. The petition asked Amazon to “provide all US workforce with a paid day / shift that can be used anytime until Election Day on November 3rd. This additional paid day / shift is required every year for all employees be available.” Given the already ridiculous voting lines the US is seeing and which have been tightened further by the pandemic this year, this seems like a reasonable request. But not for Amazon – the company declined the request, and a spokesperson stated that employees “can request and receive excused leave. The number of hours and pay of employees vary by state according to local laws. “
Translation: Oh, is there a reason this particular US election is particularly important? Take your petition and slide it. Our conclusion is more important. Amazon will continue to adhere to the minimum required by law.
This column was about searching Amazon for its cruel demeanor. But a quick review while writing it revealed that the tech giant is not alone.
While hundreds of companies have joined the non-partisan “Time To Vote” movement, which gives employees time to vote during the workday, Amazon is not on the membership list. But neither Apple, Facebook nor Microsoft.
Google and Walmart, the largest employer in the US, have signed. Smaller tech companies that are also on the list include Etsy, Lyft, PayPal, Uber, Salesforce, and Twitter.
Apple has refused to confirm that it will provide 4 hours of paid time off on election day. Facebook offers paid time off to all U.S. employees who volunteer to take the polls, but has not said anything about voting. Microsoft didn’t say a look.
I can’t decide which is more shameful – the fact that the US doesn’t want to give citizens time to vote or that Big Tech isn’t interested in leading the way on such a fundamental issue.
I called Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft to explain their stance. I’ll update this story when I hear something, but I’m not holding my breath.
ProBeat is a column where Emil grumbles about everything that hits him this week.
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