Business Ethics

Tim Bray (29 April 2020), “Bye, Amazon,” [blog]
Bray was a VP and Distinguished Engineer at Amazon Web Services, but decided to quit over Amazon’s firing of warehouse employees who complained about the lack of COVID-19 protections in their workplace. Bray thinks his decision will cost him a million dollars, but believes it was the right thing to do. Bray writes, “Amazon is exceptionally well-managed and has demonstrated great skill at spotting opportunities and building repeatable processes for exploiting them.” Nevertheless, there is a problem of power within the company whereby workers have little power and are getting weaker. Bray holds that any possible solution to this imbalance will come through building collective strength among workers.

Karen Foster (16 June 2020), “Pandemic pay Premium for Grocery Store Employees a Flash in the Pan,” The Chronicle Herald
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic many grocery stores (and other essential employers) offered hazard pay, sometimes called “hero” pay to their employees. Then, suddenly, and before the pandemic was over, many of those organizations decided to end their hero pay programs. Foster suggests this is not just a money problem, but rather it is a moral problem. Yet in solving it, “A boycott won’t work, because grocery stores have consolidated until there are so few options we’re forced to choose the least worst among them.” How do we ensure that essential workers get pay commensurate with the value of their work?

Chris MacDonald (12 June 2020), “Restaurant Delivery: Is it Ethical to Use Uber Eats and DoorDash?,” Business Ethics Blog [blog]
During the COVID-19 pandemic, food delivery became essential for many people and businesses. In most areas, restaurants had to close for weeks or months, except for delivery or curbside pickup. Many people were required to self-isolate and so could not pick up food in person, leaving delivery as the only option. But many delivery apps charge restaurants a premium for this service (generally around 30% of the bill). MacDonald considers whether these apps are helping or hurting restaurants and whether using them as a consumer is a good thing.