[Organizers want to see the company reduce its carbon footprint,
cancel contracts with fossil fuel companies, and stop lobbying for
politicians who deny climate change. ] [https://portside.org/] 

 PORTSIDE LABOR 

 HUNDREDS OF AMAZON EMPLOYEES PLAN TO WALK OUT OF WORK IN PROTEST OF
AMAZON’S ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES   [https://portside.org/node/20946]


 

 Shirin Ghaffary 
 September 9, 2019
Vox
[https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/9/9/20857030/amazon-employees-walkout-environmental-policies]


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 _ Organizers want to see the company reduce its carbon footprint,
cancel contracts with fossil fuel companies, and stop lobbying for
politicians who deny climate change. _ 

 Amazon employees are planning to walk out in support of a global
strike against climate change on September 20., Erik McGregor/Pacific
Press/LightRocket via Getty Images 

 

Amazon employees are planning to walk out
[https://medium.com/@amazonemployeesclimatejustice/amazon-employees-are-joining-the-global-climate-walkout-9-20-9bfa4cbb1ce3] in
support of a global strike against climate change later this month.
The strike is part of a larger youth-led
[https://350.org/press-release-climate-strikes-one-month-usa/] day of
action in over 150 countries to pressure governments and corporations
to address what participants call a growing climate crisis.

The organizing by Amazon’s corporate employees marks the first time
tech workers at the e-commerce giant have planned a mass protest, in a
significant escalation of worker activism at the company. In recent
years, tech’s rank-and-file have pushed back against their
employers’ controversial projects with the military, immigration
agencies, and foreign governments. And in November, 20,000 Google
employees walked out
[https://www.vox.com/2018/11/1/18048720/google-employee-walkout-activism-sexual-harassment] of
work, demanding the company stop sexual harassment and discrimination
in the workplace. Now, it seems to be Amazon’s turn to face public
criticism from its employees, who are demanding the company reduce its
carbon footprint and stop supporting politicians who deny the
existence of climate change. 

“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,” reads a statement
from an Amazon spokesperson in part, which pointed to Amazon’s
existing initiative to reduce shipment emissions. The company also
said it plans to share Amazon’s carbon footprint later this year.

Employees organizing with the group Amazon Employees for Climate
Justice began circulating an email last week to colleagues,
encouraging them to join the walkout, which is planned for September
20, and asking them to sign a form pledging their support. So far, the
group says 941 employees plan to join the protest.

“We need bold, immediate climate action,” reads an informational
letter sent by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice to a group of
employees, “As a large, global company, we must demonstrate real
climate leadership.”

Organizers’ stated goals are for the company to have zero
carbon emissions by 2030, stop custom AWS cloud computing contracts
with fossil fuel companies, and stop funding “climate-denying”
lobbyists and politicians. 

The letter states that Amazon funded 68 members of Congress
[https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgot.php?cycle=2018&cmte=C00360354] last
year who voted against climate legislation
[http://scorecard.lcv.org/members-of-congress#8] 100% of the time. 

In recent years, Amazon’s employees have pressured the company to
become more environmentally friendly. In February, Amazon announced
its Shipment Zero program
[https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/21/amazon-announces-shipment-zero-plan-to-drive-net-zero-carbon-shipments/] to
make 50 percent of all shipments net-zero by 2030. But its employees
have continued to press the company to do better on reducing its
carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. A group of employees
submitted a shareholder proposal that tasked Jeff Bezos with creating
a comprehensive climate-change plan for the company. The proposal
was voted down at the Amazon shareholder meeting in May
[https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/5/22/18635604/amazon-shareholder-meeting-2019-climate-change-proposal] but
won significant support with around 30 percent of shareholder votes
in favor
[https://www.geekwire.com/2019/amazon-shareholders-proposals-climate-facial-recognition-won-30-percent-vote/],
excluding abstentions. As of September, over 8,000 employees signed a
public petition supporting the proposal and asking the company for
bold climate change
[https://medium.com/@amazonemployeesclimatejustice/public-letter-to-jeff-bezos-and-the-amazon-board-of-directors-82a8405f5e38] leadership. 

Organizers also sent a link to a YouTube video
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GO_wsx33x_k] that features Amazon
employees sharing their reasons for participating in the protest.

“[I’m walking out] because Amazon does not demonstrate the same
leadership on climate change that I’m expected to demonstrate every
day on the job.” said one employee in the video.

“I know Amazon is capable of quick and bold action, and I believe
the world needs Amazon to take big steps to avert the climate
crisis.” said another.

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