Human Rights Campaign gave Amazon a perfect score on workplace equality—while Amazon was donating to the organization.
The stunning vote by Amazon warehouse workers earlier this month to form a union at the JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island, New York has invited fresh scrutiny of the e‑commerce giant’s for-hire union busters, as well as the groups and politicians that do business with them, In These Times reports.
But there is another category of organization that has largely evaded such negative publicity: groups that help launder the image of Amazon, by presenting the company as a fair and enlightened employer. Perhaps the worst offender in this category is Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which describes itself as “the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization.”
HRC has been criticized in the past for taking pro-corporate positions and undermining social justice causes — for example, supporting a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2007 that would have excluded key workplace protections for transgender people. More recently, the organization has fallen under scrutiny for its close ties to the disgraced administration of former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
In its “Corporate Equality Index 2022,” released in January, HRC said that Amazon is among the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.” HRC gave Amazon a score of 100%, alongside other major companies like Walmart and Chevron. This marks the fifth year in a row that the company has received a flawless equality score.
HRC’s report gives few details about why, exactly, Amazon received this rating, but the organization said in a statement, “To earn top ratings, these employers took concrete steps to establish and implement comprehensive policies, benefits and practices that ensure greater equity for LGBTQ+ workers and their families.”
Amazon, it turns out, is a donor to HRC. The e‑commerce giant is listed as a “platinum partner” on HRC’s website, and is among those companies thanked for their “generous support of the work of the Human Rights Campaign.” It is not immediately clear how much money platinum partners donate to HRC, but platinum is the highest level of donor listed on the organization’s website. HRC did not return a request for comment about whether Amazon’s donations influenced the company’s rating.
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