Amazon employees protest office, climate policies

STORY: Some Amazon employees staged a walkout in Seattle on Wednesday (May 31). They say they're protesting the company's climate policy, layoffs, and a return-to-office mandate.

More than 100 people rallied outside Amazon's Seattle headquarters, with more pledging to protest globally, according to Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ), the group behind the walkout.

Kevin Freitas says the group's demands can be understood in plain terms.

[Kevin Freitas / Amazon employee]

"I'm out here to support everyone at Amazon who believes we can just do better. You know, we can do better on the environment, we can do better on personal choice, and family and work balance. It's real simple."

Amazon did not report any protests beyond those in Seattle.

The company recently walked back a goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions on all Amazon shipments by 2030.

In recent months, the e-commerce giant cut some 27,000 jobs, including nearly a tenth of its corporate workforce, marking a sharp turn for a company that long touted its job creation.

And a May 1 return-to-office mandate resulted in widespread confusion for staff working remotely as to whether they needed to relocate nearer to work to avoid being laid off.

Those moves have galvanized a number of employees, including Ammar Hussein.

[Ammar Hussein / Amazon employee]

"We are not involved in discussions related to big decisions related to the company, there are no transparency with the company's policies. We want Amazon to do better. We want warehouse workers to have better conditions, we want responsibility towards climate problems and climate impact."

Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser said the company is still committed to reducing its carbon footprint.

He added that Amazon listens to employee feedback and was happy with the collaboration that arose from its return-to-office policy.

This is not the first time Amazon employees have protested the company's environmental policies. In 2019, hundreds of employees of Amazon and other large tech companies rallied with demands that their employers do more to tackle global warming.