time to act seattle amazon employees walkout to protest office policies
On Wednesday, a group of Amazon employees staged a walkout at the company’s Seattle headquarters to protest against changes in the company’s climate policy, recent layoffs, and a return-to-office mandate. The demonstration was organized by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ), an activist group, and drew the participation of over 100 employees. The walkout signifies growing discontent among Amazon workers regarding the company’s environmental commitments and treatment of its workforce.
Gathering at the Spheres
More than 100 individuals gathered in the afternoon near the Spheres, a prominent glass-dome monument at the heart of Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, according to witnesses. Chanting slogans such as “Emissions climbing. Time to act!” and “Stand together; don’t turn back!” the protesters aimed to draw attention to the urgency of addressing climate change and the need for Amazon to take responsibility.
A Global Movement
The walkout in Seattle was not an isolated incident. Organizers reported that over 1,900 employees worldwide had pledged to participate in the protest. However, Amazon stated that no other significant actions were observed outside of Seattle. The global response highlights the growing concern among Amazon workers about the company’s policies and actions.
Issues with Amazon’s Climate Policy
The protest was prompted by what the AECJ described as Amazon’s recent moves in the wrong direction regarding its climate policy. Notably, the company eliminated its goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions for all Amazon shipments by 2030. Although Amazon still maintains a broader pledge to address climate change by a later date, this change was seen as a setback by the protesting employees.
Layoffs and Return-to-Office Mandate
The walkout also drew attention to recent layoffs and a return-to-office mandate at Amazon. The company announced approximately 27,000 job cuts, representing 9% of its corporate workforce, which contradicted its previous image as a major job creator. Moreover, the return-to-office policy caused confusion among employees, leading to concerns about potential relocations and layoffs. Some employees felt the company’s approach lacked clarity and communication.
In response to the walkout and the employees’ concerns, Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser emphasized the company’s commitment to reducing its carbon emissions. He stated that given Amazon’s significant power consumption and extensive transportation, packaging, and physical assets, achieving carbon neutrality would take time. He assured that the company remains on track to achieve 100% renewable energy usage by 2025. Glasser also mentioned that Amazon values employee feedback and expressed satisfaction with the collaboration resulting from the return-to-office policy.
Continued Employee Activism
The recent walkout in Seattle is not the first instance of employee activism at Amazon. In 2019, Amazon workers joined other tech company employees in protests in San Francisco and Seattle, highlighting their employers’ perceived lack of action on climate change. The continued mobilization of Amazon employees suggests a growing demand for the company to prioritize sustainability and address worker concerns.
The walkout by Amazon employees in Seattle serves as a strong statement against the company’s climate policy changes, layoffs, and return-to-office mandate. The protest underscores the growing activism and dissatisfaction among Amazon workers who are demanding stronger environmental commitments and fair treatment. As employees continue to raise their voices, it remains to be seen how Amazon will respond and whether these actions will drive meaningful change within the company.