Amazon Workers Stage Walkout Demanding Climate-friendly Policies and Remote Work Flexibility

Protesting against the return-to-work policy and the company's inadequate efforts to address climate change. The demonstration, organized in part by a group called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, aimed to encourage Amazon to adopt more environmentally friendly policies and eliminate the requirement for in-office work.

During the event, which was broadcast on Twitter, several speakers voiced their concerns outside the headquarters, emphasizing the need for Amazon to take climate change more seriously. They advocated for a range of measures to reduce the company's environmental impact. The gathering received support from various organizations, including the Awood Center, a Minneapolis labor advocacy group that has assisted Amazon warehouse workers in improving their working conditions. Shemona Moreno, the director of the local climate justice action group 350 Seattle, also delivered a speech.

One of the key motivations behind the walkout, as stated by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, was the company's recent admission of abandoning its commitment to the "Shipment Zero" policy. This policy, announced in 2019, aimed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions on 50% of Amazon shipments by 2030.

During the demonstration, Moreno urged Amazon to embrace the principles of the green new deal, emphasizing the importance of continued pressure to drive change. The executive director of the Awood Center, Abdirahman Muse, highlighted the potential for transformation if employees organized effectively, as conveyed through a statement read by one of the speakers in Seattle.

"I am deeply disappointed that senior leadership quietly abandoned a crucial goal in the climate pledge," expressed an anonymous worker in the statement. "It is yet another indication that climate impact is not a central consideration in their decision-making. That is why I participated in the walkout."

The group also accused Amazon of reneging on other commitments to reduce its environmental impact. These include underestimating its carbon footprint, disproportionately locating pollution-intensive operations in communities of color, and undermining clean energy legislation.

Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser called for patience and emphasized that realizing many aspects of the company's climate pledge would take time.

"While we all wish to achieve our goals instantly, companies like ours, with substantial power consumption and significant transportation, packaging, and physical assets, require time to accomplish these changes," Glasser explained.

Resistance against returning to the office

The walkout also aimed to protest the mandatory return-to-office policies implemented by Amazon. The AECJ statement criticized the policy's implementation as being poorly executed and claimed that it posed a threat to the company's long-term success.

"If we want to attract the most talented individuals from around the world, senior leadership must adapt to the changing times," stated a worker quoted in the statement. "I no longer have confidence in the decision-making of senior leadership, and I know I'm not alone."

In response, Glasser's statement expressed Amazon's satisfaction with the initial month of the new policy.

"We are pleased with the increased energy, collaboration, and connections that have resulted from this change. We have received positive feedback from many employees and businesses surrounding our offices," Glasser remarked. "We acknowledge that it will require time to readjust to spending more time in the office, and numerous teams within the company are working diligently to ensure a smooth transition for employees."

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