Workers at Amazon companies plan walkout next week over back-to-office policies | CNN Business
Some Amazon corporate workers have announced plans to walk off the job next week over frustrations with the company’s back-to-work policies, among other issues, in a sign of rising tensions within the e-commerce giant after of several rounds of layoffs.
The work stoppage is being jointly organized by an internal climate justice worker group and a remote work advocacy group, according to an email from the organizers and public social media posts.
Participating workers have two main demands: asking the e-commerce giant to put climate impact at the forefront of its decision-making, and offering greater flexibility over how and where employees work.
The lunchtime departure is scheduled for May 31, starting at noon. Organizers have said in an internal commitment that they will only go ahead with the walkout if at least 1,000 workers agree to participate, according to an email from the organizers.
The Washington Post was the first to report the planned departure.
The collective action by corporate workers comes after Amazon, like other Big Tech companies, cut tens of thousands of jobs late last year amid broader economic uncertainty. In total, Amazon has said this year it will lay off about 27,000 workers in several rounds of cuts.
At the same time, Amazon and other tech companies are trying to get workers into the office more. In February, Amazon said it required thousands of its workers to be in the office at least three days a week, starting May 1.
“Morale is really at an all time low right now,” a Los Angeles-based Amazon worker who plans to participate in the walkout next week told CNN. “I think the hope of this coming out is to send a clear message to the leadership that we expect real action from them on a number of issues, with the thesis that, like now, we need better long-term decision-making that benefits . not just the employees, but the communities we serve.”
The worker, who asked not to be named, said organizers are focusing walkout efforts in person at the company’s headquarters in Seattle, but have also created a way for people to participate virtually, so “everyone Amazonians are welcome to participate.”
One of the internal groups leading next week’s walkout is called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ), the same coalition that organized protests to criticize the company for inaction on climate change in 2019.
“Amazon must keep pace with a changing world,” the group wrote in a Twitter thread Tuesday asking to leave next week. “To cultivate a diverse and world-class workplace, we need real plans to address our climate impact and flexible work options.”
Amazon’s Climate Pledge, signed in 2019, commits the company to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040, among other climate goals. But in the Twitter thread, the group blasted the pledge as “exaggeration” and demanded “a genuine climate plan”.
Amazon said it has made progress toward its goals, including putting thousands of electric delivery vehicles on the road and continuing to invest in proven and new science-backed solutions to reduce carbon emissions. Amazon also said it had a goal of powering 100% of its operations with renewable energy by 2030, and now hopes to reach that goal by 2025.
“We respect the rights of our employees to express their opinions,” Amazon spokesman Rob Munoz told CNN in a statement Tuesday.
In response to employee concerns about returning to the office, Munoz said the company “has had a good couple of weeks with more employees in the office.”
“There has been good energy on campus and in urban centers like Seattle, where we have a large presence. We have heard this from many employees and from the companies surrounding our offices,” said Muñoz. “In relation to the specific issues raised by this group of employees, we have explained our thinking in various forums over the past few months and will continue doing it.”