Amazon workers walk out to protest return to office mandates and the company's climate impact

The event was streamed live in front of Amazon's Seattle headquarters.

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Two employee groups at Amazon have joined together to stage a corporate walk out today, uniting to protest the company's return-to-office policy and to raise concerns about Amazon's climate impact.

Standing in front of Amazon's Seattle Headquarters, the group streamed the event live on Twitter — featuring speakers for both groups advocating for their united cause. Some speakers vented their frustrations with the company's policy to have workers return to the office for at least three days a week, telling stories about how the remote work kicked off by the COVID pandemic bought them precious hours at home with their family and saved them from hours of daily commute time. Another speaker married this idea to the company's climate goals, highlighting how remote work allowed more families to become one-car households. This dovetails into some of the groups' complaints that Amazon is failing to meet its own goals in its climate pledge of reaching zero emissions by 2040.

According to the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice Twitter page, more than 1900 Amazon employees pledged to participate in the walk out.

Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser provided Engadget with the following statement:

“We continue to push hard on getting to net carbon zero by 2040, and we have over 400 companies who’ve joined us in our Climate Pledge. While we all would like to get there tomorrow, for companies like ours who consume a lot of power, and have very substantial transportation, packaging, and physical building assets, it’ll take time to accomplish. We remain on track to get to 100% renewable energy by 2025, and will continue investing substantially, inventing and collaborating both internally and externally to reach our goal.

We’re always listening and will continue to do so, but we’re happy with how the first month of having more people back in the office has been. There's more energy, collaboration, and connections happening, and we've heard this from lots of employees and the businesses that surround our offices. We understand that it’s going to take time to adjust back to being in the office more and there are a lot of teams at the company working hard to make this transition as smooth as possible for employees.”

Amazon also estimated that about 300 of the 65,000 corporate and tech employees in the Puget Sound HQ participated in the walkout; it doesn't look like the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice account has yet provided their own estimate for how many people participated.

Update, June 1st 2023, 9:00AM ET: Added a statement from Amazon.