Whatever happened to that former Amazon employee who went on a hunger strike to push for reforms at the company? We’ve been getting that question from GeekWire readers, and the answer, in short, is that the protest has ended.
We checked in with the former employee, Kivin Varghese, who says he was able to meet with a top Amazon executive earlier this month, and came away optimistic about the company’s efforts to improve its treatment of employees, its ethical standards, and its environmental practices.
He’s now awaiting a letter from the company outlining its efforts in those areas.
“After 18 days (down about 21.5 lbs), I met with Amazon’s General Counsel who responded in a thorough way to all of the issues I raised and seemed to genuinely care about communicating that Amazon was working to improve in these areas, and explained a bit about new leadership in those areas,” Varghese says via email.
He adds, “I’m optimistic they will follow through on their assurances and fix these broad issues which will be good not only for Amazon employees and customers going forward but also for Amazon as a company.”
He ended up getting more than 60,000 signatures for his online petition, and visited with the Rev. Jesse Jackson during the civil rights leader’s recent visit to Seattle.
An Amazon spokesman declined to comment in response to our inquiry.
Varghese says he considers his dispute with Amazon to be effectively settled, based on the conversation. Leading up to his protest, Varghese had been involved in a protracted legal battle with the company. In his lawsuit, Varghese alleged that his former manager and Amazon executives covered up problems that caused an Amazon advertising customer, Discover, to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on a Kindle advertising campaign.