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New York Holds Amazon Shares Through Its Pension Fund. It's Demanding Racial Justice At The Company.

Reed Saxon

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli used the strength of the state’s pension fund to push for racial justice at Amazon at a shareholders meeting this week.

The state’s pension fund holds significant shares in the growing company, and DiNapoli is asking that Amazon conduct an independent review of the company’s impacts on civil rights, equity, diversity and inclusion.

He said there have been numerous complaints and lawsuits over alleged discriminatory wage practices, the selling of products that foster racial biases and accusations that the company failed to create an inclusive workplace. The murder of George Floyd and the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement has intensified calls for change at Amazon.

“The leadership at Amazon has said they support issues related to racial justice in the aftermath of the Floyd killing,” said DiNapoli. “But we think their actions, from a corporate leadership perspective, have not matched their words.”

DiNapoli also reported a record return on the state’s pension fund investments of 33.55%, a result of the past year’s booming stock market. But he warns that the markets “remain volatile and as unpredictable as ever.”

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.