1,500 Amazon employees vow to walk out in support of Global Climate Strike

This comes a day after Jeff Bezos announced the company's new "Climate Pledge."

September 20, 2019, 11:17 AM

More than 1,500 Amazon workers are expected to walk out of their jobs Friday in support of the Global Climate Strike, saying in a statement that CEO Jeff Bezos' newly-unveiled climate pledge is "not nearly enough."

The youth activist-led Global Climate Strike had long been scheduled for Sept. 20, and Amazon employees have said they planned to participate, calling on Bezos to use his power to do more to tackle climate change.

PHOTO: Photo taken in September 2018 shows Amazon.com Inc.'s logo at the company's headquarters in Seattle.
Photo taken in September 2018 shows Amazon.com Inc.'s logo at the company's headquarters in Seattle.
Kyodo News Stills via Getty Images

“I’m walking out to make sure that all of the great landscapes that are currently available all over the world are still available for the next generation,” Roshni Naidu, 28, a senior technical product manager who has worked at Amazon for five years, told ABC News Friday.

Naidu said she was “cautiously celebratory” over Bezos’ announcement, “but we’re really hoping for even more than that.”

While Naidu is taking part in a walkout at the corporate headquarters in Seattle, she said she has heard of other offices across the country organizing walkouts as well. Of those walking off their jobs in Seattle, most are office workers she said, but they also have some fulfillment center workers joining them as well.

On Thursday, the day before the planned protest, Bezos announced Amazon's sweeping new commitment to tackle climate change -- committing to net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, announcing the purchase of 100,000 electric delivery vehicles and pledging a $100 million investment in international reforestation projects.

Shortly after the Bezos' Climate Pledge was announced Thursday, the group spearheading the protest, Amazon Employees For Climate Justice, put out a statement lauding Bezos' efforts but added that "we know it's not enough."

"As long as Amazon uses its power to help oil and gas companies discover and extract more fossil fuel, donates to climate-denying politicians and think tanks, and enables the oppression of climate refugees, employees will keep raising our voices," the group said in a statement.

The group said that 1,500 Amazon workers as well as 700 Google workers have pledged to walk out in support of the Global Climate Strike.

PHOTO: Amazon corporate office building in Sunnyvale, California.
Amazon corporate office building in Sunnyvale, California.
Lisa Werner/Moment Editorial/Getty Images

A keystone of Bezos' and Amazon's "Climate Pledge" is meeting the tenets lined out in the international Paris Agreement ten years ahead of schedule.

“As one of the country’s that's very highly-polluting, we need to do even more than what the Paris Agreement is asking for, and that’s why today we’re still walking out,” Naidu said, adding that they hope to see zero emissions “not net-zero” and want Amazon to “stop funding the fossil fuel companies.”

In their statement, Amazon Employees For Climate Justice workers are reiterating the company "still has work to do."

"The Paris Agreement was a political agreement, not a scientific one," the statement said, calling "historically high-polluting countries to look beyond the Paris Agreement, because meeting its targets, even 10 years ahead of schedule, does not, by itself, put us on a pathway to a livable planet."

It continued: "We look forward to working with leadership to understand these questions, and to working to ensure transparency and accountability."

Naidu said she hopes other “employees feel empowered” to take action in their workplaces as a result of the Amazon walkout.

“When we started doing this, we didn’t really know what would happen but the response has been amazing,” Naidu said. “And then when Bezos came out with the Climate Pledge yesterday, that was just phenomenal.”

“We’ve kind of proven that collective action works, and at the end of the day companies should reflect what their collective employees want,” she added.

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