Amazon takes heat for chicken and waffles Juneteenth celebration at Chicago warehouse - GeekWire
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Amazon’s fulfillment center in Dupont, Wash. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Amazon warehouse workers in Chicago expressed outrage at a flyer advertising a chicken and waffles event to commemorate Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery in the U.S.

An employee published a photo of the “insulting” flyer in a private Facebook group and CNBC obtained the image.

“We stand in solidarity honoring the black community by supporting local black businesses,” the flyer says. “We are happy to share an authentic meal crafted by Chicago’s Chicken + Waffles.”

Some employees said Amazon should have made June 19 a companywide holiday to support black workers, as other tech companies like Twitter and Uber have.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos encouraged employees to reschedule meetings and “take some time to reflect, learn and support each other” on Juneteenth rather than canceling work altogether. Bezos said Amazon would offer “a range of online learning opportunities” throughout the day in an email to employees.

An Amazon spokesperson said that “the leader who put on this event had good intentions to honor Juneteenth by supporting a local small business owned by a member of the Black community.”

“After receiving some feedback from team members at the site, they’ve since decided to remove the sign in question,” the spokesperson said. The choice of restaurant and flyer were made by diverse local leadership, according to Amazon.

Bezos has been publishing messages of solidarity with the protestors to social media, including his responses to customers who are angry with Amazon’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

But critics say the rhetoric doesn’t always square with Amazon’s policies. The ACLU and others are demanding Amazon stop developing products that aid in law enforcement. Amazon announced it will stop selling facial recognition technology to police for one year, but the company’s Ring subsidiary continues to work closely with police departments across the country.

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