SEATTLE, June 1 (AP) – Hundreds of Amazon.com Inc. employees told executives to “work harder” during a lunchtime demonstration at its Seattle headquarters to protest what they denounced as the company’s lack of progress on climate goals and unfairness. The back-to-office mandate Wednesday.
The protests come a week after Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting and a month after a policy took effect that requires employees to return to the office three days a week. Previously, team leaders could decide how their fees worked.
Employees expressed frustration with the pace of the company’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint — “emissions are climbing, time to act” — and urged Amazon to hand back power to team leaders when it comes to work locations.
Church Hindley, a quality assurance engineer in a black pirate hat and red coat, said working from home has given him a better, healthier life.
“I’m here because I refuse to sit back and watch top-down directives that don’t make sense, that hurt the planet, that hurt families and personal lives,” Hindley said. “Just to get us into a sitting office and enjoy their tax benefits.”
In a statement, Amazon said it supports employees’ voices.
As of Wednesday morning, organizers estimated more than 1,900 employees had committed to walking around the world, including about 900 in Seattle. Many participated remotely, but hundreds gathered at Amazon Spheres — a four-story building in downtown Seattle that looks like three connected glass spheres from the outside.
“Today looks like it might be the beginning of a new chapter in Amazon’s history, when tech workers emerging from the pandemic stand up and say we still want to have a say in this company and the direction of this company,” Elisabeth Pan said, a former Amazon.com employee and co-founder of Amazon Workers for Climate Justice, a climate change advocacy group founded by Amazon employees.
Amazon relies on fossil fuels to power the planes, trucks and vans that move packages around the world, creating a huge carbon footprint. Amazon employees have been vocal critics of some of the company’s practices.
In its annual statement to investors, Amazon said it aims to deploy 100,000 electric delivery vans by 2030 and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. But campaigners say the company must do more and has committed to zero emissions by 2030.
Amazon spokesman Brad Glasser said: “While we all hope to get there tomorrow, for a company like ours that consumes a lot of electricity and has significant shipping, packaging and physical construction assets Time will make it happen,” he said in a statement.
Glasser said the company’s South Lake Union campus and other urban centers are also buzzing as more employees return to the office. However, more than 20,000 employees have signed a petition urging Amazon to reconsider its request to return to the office.
In a February memo, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company decided to bring company employees back to the office at least three days a week after observing what worked during the pandemic. Among other things, senior leadership observes employee performance and talks to leadership at other companies, he said. They concluded that employees tend to be more personally engaged and more likely to collaborate, he said.
In a note asking Amazon workers to commit to the walkout, organizers said the company “must return the autonomy to the teams that know employees and customers best to make the best decisions about remote, in-person or hybrid work, and demand that they Employees choose a team that allows them to work at their best.”
Amazon program manager Pamela Hayter started an internal Slack channel called “Remote Advocacy” after the company announced its return-to-office policy. The channel’s 33,000 members share stories about how back-to-office policies have impacted their lives.
“I cannot believe in this day and age that a company that claims to be an innovation leader in its field would do this to one of its most valuable resources — its employees,” Hayter said at the Seattle protest. .” Applause from the crowd.
The walkout follows Amazon’s widespread cost-cutting, with layoffs affecting workers in advertising, human resources, games, stores, devices and Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud computing unit.
Like other tech companies including Facebook parent Meta and Google parent Alphabet, Amazon has ramped up hiring during the pandemic to meet the needs of stuck-at-home Americans who are increasingly shopping online , to protect yourself from virus infection.
Amazon’s warehouse and office workforce has doubled in about two years to more than 1.6 million. But demand slowed as the worst of the pandemic eased. The company began suspending or canceling warehouse expansion plans last year and has cut 27,000 jobs since November. (Associated Press)
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