The gap between employees and employers is widening by the day, with Amazon workers walking out today to protest the company's policies on everything from layoffs to climate change.
It's no secret that the tech industry is going through a bit of a rough patch right now. Between mass layoffs across the board and inflexible return-to-work policies, employees at companies like Apple have been fighting back against unfair conditions.
Now, Amazon workers are fighting back in a similar way, staging a walkout across the globe that aims to send a message to management.
Amazon Employess Walk Out to Protest Policies
On May 31st, Amazon workers across the world walked out to protest the company's return-to-office policy. Nearly 2,000 employees participated in the walkout, which was organized by the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) and Amazon's Remote Advocacy communities.
In February, Amazon revoked its flexible work-from-home policy that was established in the pandemic, demanding that employees return to the office for at least three days per week. The move immediately received backlash from employees, who even filed a class action lawsuit in an attempt to have the decision reversed.
In addition to protesting the return-to-office policy, the walkout was also aimed at Amazon's climate change approach. The company has made a commitment to being carbon neutral by 2040, which the employees don't believe is good enough, considering the seriousness of climate change.
What Do Amazon Workers Want?
On the Amazon walkout website, the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) and Amazon's Remote Advocacy outlined two primary demands that employees are asking for.
For starters, the employees want Amazon to “return autonomy to its teams” when it comes to return-to-office decisions, rather than mandating every single employee follow the same rule, regardless of the particular situation.
“The world is changing, and Amazon needs to embrace the new reality of remote and flexible work if it wants to remain an innovative company that attracts and retains world-class talent. Many of us, including women, people of color, and workers with disabilities report that having autonomy in where we work improves not only our relationship with it, but also our ability to be seen and treated as equals.” – Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ)
On top of that, employees demand that Amazon adjust its approach to climate change and address the issues with the company's Climate Pledge, which is “broken, in so many ways.”
Return to Office Backlash
Amazon certainly isn't the only company trying to get employees back in the office, and it's similarly not the only company that's getting backlash for trying to do so.
Apple, for example, has been battling its workers in a similar way, with a group of employees dubbed Apple Together going so far as to refuse to return to the office, under threat of discipline.
The problem with the push to get employees back in the office is that the statistics don't really back up its effectiveness at improving productivity. Work from home and telecommuting statistics have shown that flexible working schedules improve productivity and mental health for employees and improve revenue and retention for employers.
All that to say, if you're a business considering following in the footsteps of Amazon, Apple, and the rest of big tech, we'd recommend keeping employees as happy as possible instead.