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Amazon Employees for Climate Justice

Amazon Workers Walk Out to Demand Climate Protection

By staff - Labor Network for Sustainability, August 30, 2023

Hundreds of workers at Amazon’s main headquarters in Seattle held a walkout May 31 to protest the company’s backtracking on its commitments to climate protection.

A statement by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice condemned the company’s recent admission that it had dropped its commitment to its “Shipment Zero” policy, which pledged in 2019 to reduce carbon emissions to net zero on 50% of its shipments by 2030.

A worker quoted in the statement said, “I’m appalled that senior leadership quietly abandoned one of the key goals in the climate pledge. It’s yet another sign that leadership still doesn’t put climate impact at the center of their decision-making. That’s why I walked out.”

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice accused Amazon of undercounting its carbon footprint, disproportionately locating pollution-heavy operations in communities of color, and working to undercut clean energy legislation.

The demonstration also protested Amazon’s mandatory return-to-office policies.

Extreme heat prompts first-ever Amazon delivery driver strike

By Tushar Khurana - Grist, July 11, 2023

Heat waves can delay flights and melt airplane tarmac, but Amazon won’t let them hinder Prime deliveries. Extreme heat and unsafe working conditions under the merchant giant have now spurred drivers to unionize. In Southern California, 84 delivery drivers joined the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and negotiated the first union contract among any Amazon workers in the country. And since June 24, these workers have been on an indefinite strike.

Amazon’s requirement of drivers to make up to 400 stops per day, even when temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, can make operating one of those ubiquitous gray and blue vans a particularly hazardous occupation. Raj Singh, a driver, knows that only too well.

“Sometimes it reaches 135 degrees in the rear of the truck and there’s no cooling system,” said Singh, who has worked the job for two and half years and through the height of the pandemic. “It feels like an oven when you step back there. You instantly start feeling woozy, and it’s gotten to the point where I’ve actually seen stars.”

Even on scorching days, said Singh, “Amazon sets these ridiculous paces. Some people even have to miss their guaranteed 15-minute breaks, because if we break the pace, they contact us to try and find out why we’re behind.”

“On the days that you work, it’s basically mandatory overtime,” he added. “You don’t stop until you’re done or you get reprimanded.”

Last August, after the drivers prepared a list of demands around pay, safety, and extreme temperatures, Amazon responded by offering workers two 16-ounce bottles of water a day. 

Amazon Strikes as a Climate Justice issue; Trade Union briefing

Amazon workers walk out to protest return-to-work policy, climate change

By Jon Gold - Computer World, May 31, 2023

Several hundred tech and administrative workers at Amazon’s main headquarters in Seattle staged a walkout today, urging the technology and retail giant to adopt more climate-friendly policies and do away with rules mandating in-office work.

Several speakers at an event — which was broadcast on Twitter — spoke outside the company’s headquarters Wednesday morning, saying that climate change wasn’t being taken sufficiently seriously by Amazon, and arguing for a range of policies that would reduce the company’s impact on the environment. The event was organized in part by a group called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice.

Representatives from other groups — including Minneapolis labor advocacy group the Awood Center, which helped Amazon warehouse workers in that city organize for better working conditions — sent statements of support, and speakers included the director of local climate justice action group 350 Seattle, Shemona Moreno.

Another Silent Spring: Strategies for the Climate Struggle

By Paul Fleckenstein - Tempest, March 15, 2022

After the worst year yet of climate disruption, 2021 closed with another failure of international negotiations at COP26 and the slow death of President Biden’s meager legislative climate agenda.

North America faced heightened levels of drought, heat, fire, flooding, wind, climate-enhanced migration, and crop failures. Yet the climate movement’s support and campaigning for Biden and Democratic Party achieved little. Expectations are even lower for the next three years.

To respond to this impasse the climate movement, particularly the predominant organizations in the U.S., needs to reorient away from the over-emphasis on electoral politics, and toward protest and struggle as the priority strategy.

Fortunately, there are some glimpses at how to expand this potential, but the central question remains, what socialists and the Left, in general, can do now to best catalyze more disruptive, sustained, and mass-based climate action.

Amazon workers demand company quit polluting near communities of color

By Justine Calma and Zoe Schiffer - The Verge, May 25, 2021

Hundreds of Amazon tech workers are pressuring Amazon to quit polluting — especially in communities near its warehouses. More than 600 workers signed a petition asking Amazon to bring its pollution down to zero by 2030. They also called on the company to prioritize deploying zero-emissions technologies near the communities hit hardest by Amazon’s pollution.

The petition was started after Amazon rejected a shareholder resolution asking the company to report how much pollution it emits in communities of color. Amazon says the proposal was similar to a resolution that was voted down by shareholders last year. Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting is scheduled for May 26th.

Amazon’s warehouses have mushroomed around working-class communities predominately made up of households of color, activists say. Those warehouses are magnets for pollution from diesel trucks, trains, and planes that are constantly moving goods to and from the warehouses for the e-commerce giant.

“Amazon shows up without informing the community about their encroachment. They show up with warehouses and delivery trucks that worsen our roads, our air.” Paola Dela Cruz-Perez, a youth organizer for the nonprofit East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice said during a shareholder briefing held today. “Amazon has been expanding their operations in Southeast L.A. neighborhoods like my own by exactly understanding how environmental racism works, and choosing to profit from this oppression.”

The workers organizing the petition are part of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice. “As employees, we are alarmed that Amazon’s pollution is disproportionately concentrated in communities of color,” they said in a statement. “We want to be proud of where we work. A company that lives up to its statements about racial equity and closes the racial equity gaps in its operations is a critical part of that.”

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