Seattle Amazon workers walk out over climate, remote work concerns

Jun 1, 2023, 8:39 AM | Updated: Jul 27, 2023, 9:26 am

Seattle Amazon walkout...

May 31, 2023. Amazon workers walkout in protest of companies environmental promises and remote work policy. (Photo from Kate Stone)

(Photo from Kate Stone)

Amazon workers at Seattle headquarters participated in a walkout at noon Wednesday, as employee organizers are calling to walk off the job in response to the company’s newly implemented return-to-office mandate and environmental policies.

Amazon was one of the first companies to claim it had over-hired during the pandemic.

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Signs held by Amazonians say they’ve lost trust in company leadership.

Some walked out to push for action on climate change– others want a rollback of the “return to office” mandate.

Former Amazon employee and current organizer Eliza Pan claimed to the crowd that the company’s carbon emissions have increased by 40% since its climate pledge was announced.

“We’re here because a lot of Amazonians feel in their gut that something is not right with the company,” Pan said. “They also plan to build new data centers powered by fracked gas brought in by new gas pipelines. AWS is still continuing to sell AI and machine learning technology to oil and gas companies to help them find more oil and extract more oil quicker and cheaper. And just a few days ago, news broke that Amazon quietly scrapped Shipment Zero, the first and really only public commitment right now to reduce shipping emissions across the company. ”

Rising interest rates hit the tech industry particularly hard by hurting the ability of start-ups, in particular, to gain easy access to cash. Meta, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon all slashed tens of thousands of jobs in an effort to keep the balance sheet stable.

Some workers have blamed the companies’ top executives for failing to make better investments or avoiding an overly optimistic hiring spree that partially led to these cuts in the first place, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

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Others were angry about finding out about the layoffs from news reports and the lack of clarity from senior leaders about the overall mission of the company, the people said.

“Today, it looks like is the day that tech workers showed that you’re not just going to sign a virtual petition and then do nothing. Today looks like it might be the start of a new chapter in Amazon’s history,” Pan said. “When tech workers coming out of the pandemic stood up and said, we still want a say in this company and the direction of this company. ”

In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson says the company will continue to invest in reaching its climate-related goals.

MyNorthwest News


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Seattle Amazon workers walk out over climate, remote work concerns