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Groups, leaders criticize leaked Amazon community engagement letter

Amazon delivery drivers, together with local residents, picketing outside of Amazon's air hub in San Bernardino on Monday September 25, 2023

Community groups and lawmakers in Southern California are criticizing a document allegedly leaked from Amazon. It lays out public relations tactics to stifle pro-labor and environmental policies.

California Labor Federation President Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher shared what's purportedly Amazon’s Community Engagement Plan on X…formerly known as Twitter.

The document lays out how partners can help support Amazon by combatting “labor agitation” and negative perceptions.

It also labels lawmakers like Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-Colton) as threats to Amazon’s agenda.

Reyes this year proposed a state law to limit warehouse construction.

She says Amazon isn’t promoting involvement from the community.

"The community engagement that's being sought after is community engagement in response to financial incentives," said Reyes.

Sheheryar Kaoosji is with the Warehouse Worker Resource Center.

He thinks it's not a bad thing for the company to donate money to local organizations, but he says it’s not for the right reasons.

"The reason isn’t to help people," he says. "It’s to improve Amazon’s public relations."

An Amazon spokesperson deflected the question when asked if the document is theirs. In a statement, spokesperson Jennifer Flagg called the social media post a mischaracterization of the company's work.

“Amazon is proud to be engaged philanthropically in communities across the country,” reads the statement. “Partnerships with community leaders and stakeholders help guide how Amazon gives back. Through employee volunteerism or our charitable donations, it is always Amazon's intention to help support the communities where we work in a way that is most responsive to the needs of that community.”

CORRECTION: The story was updated to reflect that the leaked Amazon document was not independently verified by KVCR News.

Anthony Victoria is a UC Berkeley Local News Fellow reporting for KVCR News.