A group of Amazon employees have walked off the job to protest the company’s return-to-work policies…

A group of Amazon employees have walked off the job to protest the company’s return-to-work policies, impact on the climate, and deepest-ever round of layoffs.[0] In response to the company’s requirement to return to the office, two groups, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice and Amazon’s Remote Advocacy community leaders, have come together to organize the walkout. The walkout was organized to demand the e-commerce giant put climate impact at the forefront of its decision making and provide greater flexibility for how and where employees work. The protest action comes after Amazon announced plans to lay off 9,000 workers in late March, not long after the company cut over 18,000 jobs.

Amazon’s Climate Pledge, signed in 2019, commits the company to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, among other climate goals.[1] However, the walkout organizers have blasted the pledge as “hype” and demanded “a genuine climate plan.”[1] Amazon has cut more than 27,000 jobs since November 2022, affecting workers across all divisions, including advertising, human resources, gaming, stores, devices, and Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud computing division.[2]

Beginning May 1, Amazon made it mandatory for employees to return to the office for a minimum of three days every week, as announced earlier this year.[3] This was a change from Amazon’s prior policy, put in place in the second half of 2021, that allowed leaders to decide for their teams where they should work.[4] However, not all employees agree with Amazon’s stance.[5] [6]

The planned walkout comes after Amazon Employees for Climate Justice organized a walkout in 2019 that pressured Amazon into committing to its Climate Pledge, which promised the company would be carbon net zero by 2040. Despite this commitment, the company’s sustainability report last year showed that its carbon footprint increased by nearly 40% since it first began disclosing that number in 2019.[7]

The walkout was jointly organized by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice and a remote work advocacy group. The workers involved in the movement have put forth two major requests: first, that the e-commerce behemoth prioritize the environmental impact of its actions and decisions; and second, that employees be granted increased flexibility in terms of their work location and schedule. While Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser said the company has been pleased with the results of its return-to-office push so far, he added that the company is “always listening” to employees and will continue to do so.[8]

0. “Amazon Workers Walk Out to Protest Climate, Office Return Policy” Yahoo Finance, 31 May. 2023, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/amazon-workers-walk-protest-climate-192430774.html

1. “Amazon corporate workers plan to stage walkout, citing ‘lack of trust’ in leadership” KTVZ, 31 May. 2023, https://ktvz.com/news/2023/05/31/amazon-corporate-workers-plan-to-stage-walkout-citing-lack-of-trust-in-leadership

2. “Amazon employees plan walkout over climate inaction, office mandate” New York Daily News, 31 May. 2023, https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ny-amazon-employee-walkout-seattle-climate-change-20230531-e3wz3zdaxngynka4kntj2xgvzm-story.html

3. “Amazon’s Return-To-Office Mandate Amid Layoffs Backfires? Over 1,800 Employees Set To Stage Walkout – Details” Times Now, 31 May. 2023, https://www.timesnownews.com/business-economy/companies/amazons-return-to-office-mandate-amid-layoffs-backfires-over-1800-employees-set-to-stage-walkout-details-article-100647149

4. “Seattle Amazon workers plan walkout over return to office, layoffs” The Seattle Times, 22 May. 2023, https://www.seattletimes.com/business/seattle-amazon-workers-plan-walkout-over-return-to-office-layoffs/

5. “Hundreds of Amazon workers walk out to protest return-to-office, climate” The Seattle Times, 31 May. 2023, https://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/hundreds-of-amazon-workers-walk-out-to-protest-return-to-office-climate/

6. “Amazon walkout to go ahead after 1,700 employees sign on, organizers say” The Seattle Times, 30 May. 2023, https://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon-walkout-to-go-ahead-after-1700-employees-sign-on-organizers-say

7. “Amazon Workers Plan to Walk Out Over Climate Change Leaked Email Shows” Business Insider, 26 May. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-leaked-email-employee-walk-out-protest-climate-change-issues-2023-5

8. “Amazon workers plan to walk out over ‘lack of trust’ in leadership” CNBC, 31 May. 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/05/31/amazon-workers-plan-to-walk-out-over-lack-of-trust-in-leadership.html