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Amazon Seattle employees to strike as tech unrest grows


Employees at Amazon's Seattle headquarters have internally announced their plans to strike as frustration over layoffs and enforced office returns grows.

The walkout is scheduled for Wednesday, May 31, one week after the company's annual shareholder meeting.

The decision to stage the walkout stems from employee frustration over recent layoffs, the return-to-office mandate, and concerns regarding Amazon's climate commitments. 

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A Los Angeles-based Amazon employee who plans to take part said: “Morale feels like it’s at an all-time low.

“In meetings and one-on-ones with colleagues, there’s so much uncertainty and lack of clarity from leadership. … It’s an unsettling time to work at Amazon.”

The union organizers encouraged their colleagues to join through internal Slack and email messages.

They aim to gather at least 1,000 participants from the Seattle-based employee pool. 

This action is part of a broader trend of anxiety and agitation among tech workers as hiring freezes and layoffs sweep Silicon Valley amid economic uncertainty.

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Tech companies have generally presented positive financial outlooks during recent earnings calls. 

However, the growing discontent among employees, who traditionally enjoyed job security and comfortable working conditions, highlights the challenges faced by the industry.

Amazon acknowledged being overstaffed due to the pandemic-induced surge in demand, resulting in the loss of 27,000 jobs since 2022.

The company has also reduced employee stock compensation, closed divisions, discontinued products, and experienced leadership changes.

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In March, thousands of Amazonians joined a Slack group to discuss the return-to-office policy and subsequently pressured the company for a change. 

When their demands were not met, employees decided to organize the upcoming walkout.

The action is a joint effort between an informal group formed in response to the return-to-office mandate and Amazon Employees for Climate Justice. 

The climate group organized a successful walkout in 2019, pressuring Amazon to commit to its Climate Pledge of achieving carbon neutrality by 2040. 

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However, employees involved with the group now claim Amazon is failing to fulfill its promises.

The walkout prompts Amazon's leadership to engage in meaningful conversations about creating a more sustainable company. 

Employees feel the leadership team's consistent disregard has broken that trust for their concerns.

On the other hand, Amazon said its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2040 was in progress before the employee walkout in 2019.

It refutes claims the action was the sole catalyst for the company's climate commitments.

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