retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Seattle Times reports that while Amazon.com annual shareholder meetings traditionally have been sleepy affairs, this year was different as "more than 100 protesters gathered outside ... to call on Amazon to pay more taxes, treat its workers better and drop its membership in a conservative public-policy organization."

According to the story, "Amazon, addressing some of the criticism, told shareholders that it planned to ... drop its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)" because of positions taken by ALEC not related to its business. (ALEC has lobbied in favor of so-called "Stand Your Ground" laws and voter ID legislation, positions that have brought it much attention from the left and led to pressure on companies like Kraft, Coca-Cola and now Amazon to break off ties with it.)

In addition, the story says, CEO Jeff Bezos "said the company will spend $52 million retrofitting its warehouses with air conditioning. Amazon has come under public scrutiny for its treatment of workers after newspapers, including the Allentown (Pa.) Morning Call and The Seattle Times, revealed harsh conditions at some of its U.S. warehouses. The Allentown stories described temperatures above 100 degrees last summer in Pennsylvania."
KC's View:
In 2012, it would not seem like asking for air conditioning would be a big deal.