1,000 Amazon Employees Are Joining Global Climate Strike
The action, announced Monday, will mark the first time that employees at Amazon's Seattle headquarters have participated in a strike since the company was founded 25 years ago, Wired reported.
"It's incredibly important that we show up and support the youth who are organizing this kind of thing, because I think it's really important to show them, hey, you have allies in tech," Amazon software engineer Weston Fribley told Wired.
We want Amazon to commit to zero emissions by 2030 and pilot electric vehicles first in communities most impacted b… https://t.co/QE1cGD5H4s— Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (@Amazon Employees For Climate Justice)1568041557.0
Global climate strikes are being organized by Greta Thunberg's Fridays For Future to coincide with the United Nations Climate Action Summit, which begins Sept. 23. But Amazon's participation in the strike also grows out of the organizing of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ), who circulated a letter in April calling on the company to take concrete actions to fight the climate crisis. They also backed a shareholder resolution outlining a more aggressive climate policy, which was voted down in May. However, their agitation did prompt Amazon to announce Shipment Zero, its first ever pledge to reduce shipping emissions, Amazon employee and walkout organizer Rebecca Sheppard told The Guardian. The pledge commits Amazon to making 50 percent of its shipments net zero by 2030, but only applies to shipping itself, not the emissions of data centers.
"As soon as Greta Thunberg called for a global climate strike, AECJ members wanted to know how we could help," Sheppard told The Guardian. "We also needed to escalate our campaign. We've been seeing management listen but we haven't seen management understand. They're not giving us concrete commitments. They're not feeling the urgency."
The employees, however, are. Since the walkout was announced internally last week, more than 1,000 have agreed to participate, Sheppard said.
The September walkout has three Amazon-specific demands.
The second and third demands grew out of recent news reports, Wired explained. An April investigation by Gizmodo revealed that the Amazon Web Services, which is in charge of cloud computing, was pursuing the business of fossil fuel companies. Then, a July report by The New York Times uncovered that Amazon had put $15,000 towards an event organized by climate-denying think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Amazon employees think their company can do better.
"There's so many tools and capabilities within Amazon that it can really be a leader in this," Twitch product designer Danilo Quilaton told Wired. "That's all I want as an employee of Amazon—to work for a company that's taking climate change seriously and leading the push forward."
In a statement to Wired, the company did not mention the walkout but insisted it was acting on the climate crisis.
"Playing a significant role in helping to reduce the sources of human-induced climate change is an important commitment for Amazon," the company said in a statement emailed to Wired. "We have dedicated sustainability teams who have been working for years on initiatives to reduce our environmental impact."
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By Brett Wilkins
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic, as shown in documents published Monday by Public Citizen and American Oversight.
<div id="13077" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="11b9fe5ff48ebc437353df6df9c2c892"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1305915938148147205" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Just a week before the Trump administration issued an executive order aimed at keeping meat packing plants open, th… https://t.co/DkbXgPm4YR</div> — ProPublica (@ProPublica)<a href="https://twitter.com/propublica/statuses/1305915938148147205">1600189597.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="36e4c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e7c8048c2755109629a3b3072fcb3261"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1304424041814593539" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Meatpacking union @UFCW, which reps workers at this plant (four of whom died), slams OSHA for the small $13k fine a… https://t.co/tnhfKd89ab</div> — Dave Jamieson (@Dave Jamieson)<a href="https://twitter.com/jamieson/statuses/1304424041814593539">1599833901.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents Smithfield Foods workers, <a href="https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/crime/2020/09/10/osha-fines-smithfield-foods-sioux-falls-south-dakota/5768786002/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=f7bf3f03-ce98-4df4-9c45-f44d9a6a5890" target="_blank">slammed</a> the fine as "insulting and a slap on the wrist."</p><p>"How much is the health, safety, and life of an essential worker worth? Based on the actions of the Trump administration, clearly not much," said UFCW president Marc Perrone.</p><p>"This so-called 'fine' is a slap on the wrist for Smithfield, and a slap in the face of the thousands of American meatpacking workers who have been putting their lives on the line to help feed America since the beginning of this pandemic," Perrone added. </p><p>Other critics, including vegans, vegetarians, and animal rights and environmental advocates argued that the accelerated spread of Covid-19 from meatpacking facilities is but the latest compelling argument in favor of reducing—or eliminating—meat consumption.</p><p>"We know that Covid-19 originated in a meat market and that previous influenza viruses originated in pigs and chickens," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/meat-shortage-slaugherhouses-go-vegan/" target="_blank">said</a> in April amid news that a Foster Farms slaughterhouse in Livingston, California was <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/coronavirus-covid-19-slaughterhouse-meat-concerns/?utm_source=PETA::Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=0420::veg::PETA::Twitter::Workers%20Blame%20Major%20Pig%20Slaughterhouse%20600%20Infected%20COVID-19::::tweet" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ordered closed</a> by local health authorities due to a Covid-19 outbreak that killed eight employees.</p>
<div id="28490" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="48ddd3480a2beb42597d9516ef652f0f"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1252416495990140929" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! @SmithfieldFoods allegedly took NO PRECAUTIONS to protect the safety of its workers, leaving o… https://t.co/viAJ026pLy</div> — PETA (@PETA)<a href="https://twitter.com/peta/statuses/1252416495990140929">1587434336.0</a></blockquote></div><p>"It's not a matter of <em>whether</em> using and killing animals for food will give rise to another disease outbreak—it's a matter of <em>when</em>," said PETA. "There has never been a better, more obvious time for businesses to put an end to their dirty trade of slaughtering animals for their flesh." </p>
By Andrea Willige
More than half of the world's population lives in cities, and most future population growth is predicted to happen in urban areas. But the concentration of large numbers of people and the ecosystems built around their lives has also been a driver of climate change.