Hundreds of Amazon employees plan to join climate change strike

Most of the walkout participants so far come from Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.

James Martin/CNET

Over 900 Amazon employees plan to walk out of work later this month, as part of a global climate change demonstration.

Amazon Employees For Climate Justice, a group of Amazon workers trying to push their company to take greater actions on climate change, organized an internal petition for the Sept. 20 walkout, according to reports published Monday from both Wired and Vice. Most of the walkout participants so far are from Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, with many taking planned vacation days to participate, Wired said.

The walkout will be part of “Global Climate Strike,” a student-led movement to be held Sept. 20 to 27 that was sparked by climate activist Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden. The demonstrations are being held during the United Nations Climate Action Summit, on Sept. 23.

“Playing a significant role in helping to reduce the sources of human-induced climate change is an important commitment for Amazon,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement Monday. “We have dedicated sustainability teams who have been working for years on initiatives to reduce our environmental impact.”

Asked whether Amazon supports the strike or would retaliate against employees who walk out, the spokesperson added: “Amazon employees receive an allotment of paid time off every year, and they can use this time as they wish.”

While the walkout is tied to a broader climate strike, it serves as another example of Amazon employees speaking up for changes at their company. Other internal groups include Whole Worker, which includes Whole Foods Employees, and We Won’t Build It, which includes engineers fighting against Amazon’s connections to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Overall, workers in the tech industry appear to be far more willing than before to speak out against problems they see at their typically secretive companies, with employees organizing on issues at Google and Microsoft, as well.

Amazon Employees For Climate Justice didn’t respond to request for comments for this story. The Amazon climate group has previously called for more action from Amazon during its annual shareholder meeting this year and offered support for a Prime Day warehouse strike in Minnesota.

The Amazon climate group is demanding the company stop donating to politicians and lobbying groups who deny the existence of climate change, stop working with oil and gas companies on fossil fuel projects, and cut down its carbon emissions to zero by 2030, according to Wired.

Amazon already funds a network of wind and solar farms, and earlier this year announced a new program called Shipment Zero, with a plan to make 50% of all Amazon shipments net zero carbon by 2030. The company has also worked with Hasbro and others to create product boxes that can by shipped, reducing the need for additional packaging.

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