Amazon protest

Amazon workers gather for a rally during a walkout protest at the company's Seattle headquarters on May 31, 2023.

(Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images)

With HQ Walkout, Amazon Workers Say 'Hell No' to Climate Failures and Return-to-Office Mandate

"Today looks like it might be the start of a new chapter in Amazon's history," one organizer of the nationwide protest remarked optimistically.

More than 1,000 Amazon corporate workers and allies rallied outside the e-commerce giant's Seattle headquarters on Wednesday to protest the company's return-to-work policy and what they called its failure to fulfill its climate pledge.

Sign and chant slogans during the Seattle lunchtime rally—which was organized by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice and Amazon's Remote Advocacy group—included "Amazon: Strive Harder," "Stop Greenwashing," and "Hell No, RTO,"—a rebuke of a mandate from Amazon CEO Andy Jassy to return to the office at least three days per week.

"Morale is the lowest I've seen since I've been working here," one Seattle-based employee who did not want to be named and has worked for the company since 2020 told Wired.

This year, Amazon terminated 27,000 workers, layoffs that mirrored cost-cutting sackings at other tech companies that overhired during the Covid-19 pandemic.

At least hundreds of other Amazon corporate employees and their supporters took part in similar demonstrations outside company offices around the nation on Wednesday, according to reports.

"Today looks like it might be the start of a new chapter in Amazon's history, when tech workers coming out of the pandemic stood up and said, 'We still want a say in this company and the direction of this company,'" Eliza Pan, a former Amazon corporate employee and a co-founder of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, toldThe Associated Press.

Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser told Wired that "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," he added.

However, Church Hindley, an Amazon quality assurance engineer, told the AP that working from home has improved his health and quality of life.

"I'm not suited for in-office work," Hindley said. "I deal with depression and anxiety, and I was able to get off my anxiety medication and start living my life."

Pamela Hayter, an Amazon project manager, started the "Remote Advocacy" internal Slack channel, which now has 33,000 members.

During the Seattle rally, Hayter slammed the return-to-office mandate, saying, "I cannot believe that a company in this day and age, a company that claims to be an innovative leader in its space, would do that to one of its most precious resources—its employees."

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