Amazon employees staged a protest this past Wednesday over the company’s return-to-office mandate.
In February, CEO Andy Jassy sent a memo saying remote workers should return to the office on May 1. He wrote: “We should go back to being in the office together at least three days per week”.
Pamela Hayter, an employee, gave a speech on Wednesday´s walkout. Working from home, she explained, had allowed her to spend more time with her family than she thought was possible before the pandemic.
Earlier this year, Hayter started an internal Slack channel where workers could voice their support for remote work. She described the channel as the largest concrete expression of employee dissatisfaction in Amazon’s history during her speech.
Now, Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser commented on the situation: “We’re always listening and will continue to do so, but we’re happy with how the first month of having more people back in the office has been.”
Glasser says that since the return-to-office mandate went into effect, “there’s more energy, collaboration, and connections happening, and we’ve heard this from lots of employees and the businesses that surround our offices.”
Amazon downplayed the attendance at the headquarters walkout, estimating the crowd to be 300 people (organizers put the number higher) and noting it has 65,000 corporate and tech employees in the Puget Sound region, and 350,000 globally.
“We understand that it’s going to take time to adjust back to being in the office more. There are a lot of teams at the company working hard to make this transition as smooth as possible for employees.” Brad Glasser