In brief: Striking Amazon workers is nothing new, but next week’s walkout isn’t related to the company’s reportedly harsh working conditions. More than 900 employees are protesting the retail giant’s failure to take action in the fight against climate change.
Reports of strikes by Amazon warehouse workers, especially on Prime Day, are common, but this will mark the first time in the company’s history that employees from its Seattle headquarters are walking out.
The protest is scheduled to begin at 11:30 am Pacific time on September 20 and is part of a general strike taking place ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit on September 23rd. That protest is being led by 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg.
“It’s incredibly important that we show up and support the youth who are organizing this kind of thing, because I think it’s really important to show them, hey, you have allies in tech,” Weston Fribley, a software engineer who has worked at Amazon for over four years, told Wired.
According to Vice, Amazon strikers will be joined by Microsoft workers in Seattle, and Google employees could also join.
Microsoft workers will be joining millions of people around the world by participating in the youth-led Global Climate Strike on September 20th to demand an end to the age of fossil fuels. Microsoft workers, join us by pledging to take action at https://t.co/KL3e0xKyYR— Microsoft Workers 4 Good (@MsWorkers4) 9 September 2019
Amazon Employees For Climate Justice, which is organizing the strike, shared its three demands in a Medium post. It wants Amazon to become a zero-emissions company by 2030, end its partnerships with oil and gas companies, and stop giving money to lobbyists and politicians who deny climate change is real.
We want Amazon to commit to zero emissions by 2030 and pilot electric vehicles first in communities most impacted by pollution. We should be leaders reaching zero first, not sliding in at the last moment.— Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (@AMZNforClimate) 9 September 2019
Pledge to walk out with us: https://t.co/Ubcm6G2XWQ pic.twitter.com/vGmLIs9rnY
Earlier this year, over 4,000 Amazon employees co-signed an open letter to CEO Jeff Bezos and the company's board of directors asking them to adopt a company-wide, comprehensive climate plan, which involves completely transitioning away from fossil fuels.
Amazon says it has numerous initiatives in place to counter its impact on the environment. “Playing a significant role in helping to reduce the sources of human-induced climate change is an important commitment for Amazon. We have dedicated sustainability teams who have been working for years on initiatives to reduce our environmental impact," the company said, in a statement.