Washington Post Writer Slams Owner Bezos in HuffPost Op-Ed

Jeff Bezos / Getty Images
Jeff Bezos / Getty Images
September 1, 2017

A Washington Post staff writer penned an op-ed for HuffPost on Friday in which he attacked his paper's owner, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, for treating his employees "poorly."

"Jeff Bezos Wants to Give More Money to Charity. He Should Pay His Workers First," wrote Fredrick Kunkle, who also serves as co-chair of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild's bargaining unit at the Post.

Kunkle noted how the Amazon CEO sent out an appeal to his Twitter followers in June, asking how he should spend his fortune on philanthropic causes.

"But he's still taking from the very people who helped him build his fortune," Kunkle said.

"Amazon's history of dodging taxes, its mistreatment of workers, and its ruthlessness toward even the smallest competitors have been well documented," Kunkle continued. "It put ambulances outside distribution centers rather than install adequate air conditioning. It broke up a union organizing effort by closing the call center and dismissing everyone who worked there."

Kunkle then discussed the Amazon CEO's influence on his newspaper. Bezos purchased the Post in 2013. He described some positive impacts the Amazon CEO had on the company, including the decision to move the Post into a new building and to hire dozens of reporters. Kunkle, however, soon shifted gears to document abuses attributed to Bezos.

"Two years ago, however, Bezos slashed retirement benefits," he said. "For reasons that remain unclear, he froze a pension plan that was awash in so much money that neither he nor the company would possibly have faced additional liabilities."

Kunkle further referred to how Bezos made the decision to stop providing health insurance to part-time employees.

"Only by making sacrifices was the Post's union able to maintain health insurance for part-timers — whose cost of coverage was about what the Post spent to send its publisher to the White House Correspondents' Association dinner," Kunkle wrote.

"Bezos has shown that he views his employees as parts in a high-tech machine, that income inequality is someone else's problem, and that modern corporations owe little more to their employees than a paycheck," he concluded.

Kunkle runs the Post's Tripping Blog, where he writes about the experience of travel.