Because ‘Everything Is on Fire,’ Nearly 1,000 Amazon Workers Pledge to Walk Out and Join Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20

“We understand the threat of the climate crisis and want to work for a company that makes climate a priority.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-9-2019

More than 940 Amazon employees have pledged to take part in the global climate strike on Sept. 20. (Photo: Amazon Employees for Climate Justice/Twitter)

To protest the retail behemoth’s contributions to the climate crisis and persistent refusal to change course, nearly 1,000 Amazon workers have pledged to walk off the job on Sept. 20 in solidarity with the millions of people across the world expected to take part in this month’s global climate strike.

Wired reported Monday that the demonstration “will mark the first time in Amazon’s 25-year history that workers at its Seattle headquarters have walked off the job.”

“Most of the workers who have signed on so far work in Seattle,” according to Wired, “but employees in other offices, including in Europe, have indicated an interest in the event as well.”

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ), the group that organized the walkout, outlined its core demands in a Medium post and urged Amazon workers around the world to join the demonstration.

In May, as Common Dreams reported, AECJ put forth a resolution at Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting demanding a “company-wide climate plan” to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Amazon CEO and world’s richest man Jeff Bezos refused to emerge from backstage as his employees called on the mega-billionaire to back the resolution, which ultimately failed.

“As employees at one of the largest and most powerful companies in the world, our role in facing the climate crisis is to ensure our company is leading on climate, not following,” the group wrote on Monday. “We have to take responsibility for the impact that our business has on the planet and on people.”

To “demonstrate real climate leadership,” said AECJ, Amazon must commit to:

  • Zero carbon emissions by 2030;
  • Zero custom Amazon Web Services (AWS) contracts for fossil fuel companies to accelerate oil and gas extraction; and
  • Zero funding for climate denying lobbyists and politicians.

“Amazon has the resources and scale to spark the world’s imagination and redefine what is possible and necessary to address the climate crisis,” said AECJ. “Our walkout on September 20th demonstrates the commitment of Amazon employees and calls on leadership to join us in this commitment.”

As of this writing, over 940 Amazon employees have committed to taking part in the strike, a number that is expected to grow in the coming days.

In a video, individual Amazon workers explained why they have decided to take part in this month’s climate strikes, which are set to take place in over 150 countries.

“I’m walking out September 20th because I feel climate change is the most imminent threat to humanity that we face as a whole today,” said an Amazon employee identified as Peter.

“Everything is on fire,” added Khushboo, “and it’s not fine.”

As Common Dreams reported last Friday, organizers say they have registered over 2,500 climate strikes across the globe, with more than 450 set to take place in the U.S. alone.

“It’s incredibly important that we show up and support the youth who are organizing this kind of thing,” Weston Fribley, a software engineer who has worked at Amazon for more than four years, told Wired. “I think it’s really important to show them, hey, you have allies in tech.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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