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Amazon Employees Stage Walkout in Climate Policy Protest, Sparking Concerns Over Layoffs and Return-to-Office Mandate

Published by
Matthew Martins
  • Amazon employees stage walkout at Seattle headquarters over climate policy changes, layoffs, and return-to-office mandate.
  • More than 100 employees participate in the protest, demanding action on emissions and expressing concerns over recent company decisions.
  • Amazon spokesperson reaffirms commitment to cutting carbon emissions but faces criticism for changes in climate policy and significant layoffs.

In a powerful display of dissent, employees of Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) staged a walkout on Wednesday to voice their concerns over the e-commerce giant’s shifting climate policy, recent layoffs, and a controversial return-to-office mandate. The demonstration, organized by the activist group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ), saw over 100 employees gathering near the Spheres, the iconic glass-dome monument at the heart of Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.

Chanting slogans such as “Emissions climbing. Time to act!” and “Stand together; don’t turn back!”, the employees called for immediate action to address the escalating environmental challenges. According to the AECJ, more than 1,900 employees globally pledged to join the protest, underscoring the depth of concern within Amazon’s workforce.

While the walkout predominantly took place in Seattle, Amazon confirmed that it had not observed any similar actions occurring in other locations.

The impetus for the protest stemmed from recent decisions by Amazon that AECJ believes have veered the company “in the wrong direction.” Notably, Amazon eliminated its goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions for all shipments by 2030, although the company maintains a broader commitment to tackling climate change by a later date.

In addition to the alterations to the climate policy, Amazon’s announcement of approximately 27,000 layoffs, amounting to around 9% of its corporate workforce, has drawn criticism. This significant shift in the company’s hiring practices contradicts its longstanding reputation for job creation and has raised concerns among employees. Adding to the turmoil, a return-to-office mandate by May 1 has left staff uncertain about potential relocations or the risk of losing their jobs.

Brad Glasser, a spokesperson for Amazon, responded to the protest by highlighting the company’s ongoing efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Glasser acknowledged the scale of the challenge faced by a corporation of Amazon’s magnitude, emphasizing the need for time to achieve substantial progress. He assured employees that Amazon remains committed to its target of using 100% renewable energy by 2025. Glasser further expressed the company’s appreciation for employee feedback, noting the constructive collaboration arising from the return-to-office policy.

This walkout follows a previous instance of employee activism in 2019 when Amazon workers joined hundreds of employees from large technology companies in marches held in San Francisco and Seattle, calling for swifter action to combat global warming.

Matthew Martins

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Published by
Matthew Martins

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