Issue 55: Tech Workers Join The Climate Strike
12 Sep 2019
This interview, “Hey, Jeff Bezos: I work for Amazon – and I’m protesting against your firm’s climate inaction”, with Amazon tech worker, Rebecca Sheppard, appeared in the Guardian. We’ve copied and pasted sections below. Read the full interview here.
What do you do at Amazon?
I’m a senior product manager for Amazon Air. I work out of the Seattle headquarters, and I’ve been here for nearly three years.
Why do a walkout? Why did you choose this tactic?
Walking out is a symbol of employees coming together. It’s also a way of celebrating how large Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) has become, and signaling to management and to one another that this has gone on for too long. That business as usual is not cutting it.
The response so far has been incredible. Since we first announced the walkout internally last Wednesday, over 1,000 Amazon employees have pledged to walk out. And the number is growing fast.
What about the relationship of the AECJ to the wider tech worker movement that has emerged over the past year or two? Tech workers at a number of companies are organizing to oppose contracts with ICE and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) under the banner of #TechWontBuildIt. Last year at Google, workers forced management to cancel its contract with the Pentagon for Project Maven, a program that uses machine learning to improve targeting for drone strikes. Then came the Google walkout, a global work stoppage by 20,000 Googlers to protest sexism and discrimination in the workplace. How does AECJ and your upcoming walkout fit into this broader picture?
I’ve been incredibly inspired by the Google walkout and the #TechWontBuildIt campaigns. It’s like there’s been an awakening. Previously, people might’ve been comfortable looking the other way or putting their head in the sand. Not anymore. More and more people are standing up and saying: “This isn’t right.” And if one person says that, and then finds someone else who agrees with them, that’s all you need to start a movement.
When I hear about actions at other tech companies, I’m inspired. It’s a reminder that we have power. And that our power comes from standing together in solidarity. Moral fortitude is contagious.
- Palantir protest in NYC: Today at 1100am ET at Palantir’s NYC office. FB Event.
- Palantir protest in Palo Also: Today at 4pm in Palo Alto. FB event.
- Climate Strike: 9/20 Microsoft and Amazon workers are walking out. Keep an eye on our twitter feed for updates with more companies joining.
The Code of Conduct is in effect at all TWC events.
Kickstarter Fired Two Workers For Organizing. Union busting is disgusting. Kickstarter has proved that tech companies are no different when it comes to violating workers rights.
AB5 passes!!!!!!!! Congratulations to the THOUSANDS of drivers and supporters that fought hard for this win! AB5 forces Uber, Lyft, and other major gig economy companies to treat hundreds of thousands of workers as employees. WHEN WE FIGHT, WE WIN!
Amazon workers are walking out to join the climate strike. Strength in numbers is our only advantage.
NLRB orders google to allow employees to talk politics at work. ”The National Labor Relations Board has ordered Google to remind employees that it’s within their rights to openly debate political and workplace issues.” All of us have rights to discuss workplace issues. Use ‘em!
Song of the week
R.A.P. Ferreira - RespectDue
In this era, you need to get your businesses right
You need several businesses, you know LLCs, corporations and things
You need, you need, you need uh, you need to be part of the business class–