Around noon on Friday, anywhere between 1500 and 2000 technicians poured out of the large glass buildings in South Lake Union and gathered at The base of Bezo's balls to support the youth-led global climate attack Workers demanded more action from their climate change companies, and urged other technical staff to join the movement.
Amazon Climate Justice Employees and Google Workers for Action on Climate hosted the event, which couldn't help but have something of a silly corporate air. Organizers released completed fence signs that they "definitely planned to recycle later" according to someone who staffed the sign board. Speakers ordered the audience to make icebreakers; the woman next to me thanked me for being there and called me "a badass" and some guy next to me gave me a fist bump. A few of the protest songs could have used another workshop or two. But a total sense of solidarity and compassion permeated a crowd that seemed excited to harness the powers of collective action.
What do you call the area between Bezos balls and this building? RS
Charles Lapham, communications director for the Martin Luther King County Labor Council, called the Amazon walk-out "one of the biggest work stories of the year." Most workers organize around wages, hours and benefits, but these sought-after tech workers, pointed Lapham, risked their job to go in for a question.
And they win. The day before the planned protest, Amazon 12 employee Jeff Bezos announced that the company would sign a climate relocation to reach carbon neutrality by 2040, plant many trees and buy 100,000 electric vans from a company in which Amazon has invested.
The goal, Bezos said, was to help reduce the size of the store giant's carbon footprint, which, as many of us learned yesterday, is very large. The company's 44.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions contests "major energy companies and heavy industry companies", according to the New York Times making it one of the best polluters in the country – and certainly in Seattle.
But organizers and other engineering staff demand more.
Molly Spetalnick has a message for Bezos.
Molly Spetalnick, a 27-year-old urban / architecture designer at ZGF, said Bezos has the means to buy carbon calculations they would need to achieve carbon neutrality tomorrow. "Microsoft did it in 2012 … but Amazon just chooses to wait to do it, and it's purely a financial decision," she said. Spetalnick claims that going green doesn't have to hurt a company's bottom line, "you just have to be creative," she said.
Venkatesh Srinivas, 31, an electrical engineer at Google, said he came out to ask tech companies to stop signing custom contracts with oil and gas companies. Srinivas said engineers have the "unique ability" to pull levers that can prevent "really dark outcomes" and wanted to encourage his fellow engineers to join him in the fight. Otherwise, he said, "the miserable survivors will be left thinking about the folly of man."
Bonnie, a 51-year-old database developer, said she came out to show politicians that the world is watching. "I think my generation and every older generation have kind of screwed things up," she said, "We haven't thought about the consequences of any of our inventions, including plastics." their children that they would strike today even if the teacher would not give them an excused absence. "I told them that sometimes protest means sacrifice," she said.
Last summer, forest fire was" a huge wake-up call "for Baxter, a 24-year-old financial analyst for Amazon's grocery delivery service that grew up in Seattle. He's also "a great skier," and the prospect of snow-free mountains – in addition to a completely melted planet – knocked him out. Like many others, Baxter said he didn't fear retaliation from the bosses. " We have the opportunity to talk, and I personally trust that senior management will listen to us if we choose to do so, ”he said.
Only a few of the protesters I interviewed feared any kind of retaliation from bosses. They were happy to be interviewed, but certainly did not want their picture taken for the blog. But almost everyone said they didn't feel like their jobs were really in danger. When Robert, a product manager at Amazon, told the boss he was beating, his boss replied, "Great!"
After a few encouraging speeches from technicians, the crowd hit 7th Ave to join the 10,000 protesters on their way to City Hall . They left the somewhat overly complicated marching song an organizer tried to teach the audience for a simpler and more direct song. "Hey Hey / Ho Ho / Fossil fuel got to go."