• Amazon HR chief has previously rejected a petition opposing the return-to-office policy
  • Many employees have also expressed concerns about health risks of working in office
  • Job cuts have impacted workers across various divisions

Several Amazon employees in Seattle reportedly plan to walk off their jobs in a show of anger against the return-to-office (RTO) mandate, as well as the ongoing layoffs.

A group of Amazon employees sent emails to their colleagues Monday, urging them to walk out of the company's Seattle headquarters and other offices on May 31 in response to the 27,000 jobs cut companywide over the past five months, according to Seattle Times.

The layoffs have impacted workers across various divisions, including advertising, human resources, gaming, stores and Amazon Web Services since November 2022. The company also issued a mandate requiring employees to work three days a week in an assigned office, which came into effect for many this month.

"We're really walking out to show leadership is taking us in the wrong direction and employees need a say in the decisions that affect our lives," a Seattle-based Amazon worker, who plans to join the walkout, told the outlet. "It's a one-day walkout to show power."

Organizers of the walkout include members of the company's remote advocacy group and Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, which orchestrated a walkout in 2019 in response to the firm's lack of efforts against climate change.

"RTO, layoffs and a broken Climate Pledge all show leadership is exhibiting Day 2 behavior and taking us in the wrong direction," organizers said in a statement, as reported by The Washington Post. "Employees need a say in decisions that affect our lives such as the RTO mandate, and how our work is being used to accelerate the climate crisis. Our goal is to change Amazon's cost/benefit analysis on making harmful, unilateral decisions that are having an outsized impact on people of color, women, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities and other vulnerable people."

The walkout significantly depends on the 1,000 Amazon employees currently working in Seattle stopping work on May 31.

"I think it's an unfortunate step ... but a necessary one at this point," a Virginia-based Amazon employee, who intends to participate in the walkout virtually, said, as per Seattle Times.

Many employees also expressed concerns about the health risks of working in the office.

"There's a feeling of the culture and the values that are being told are important for us to bring to the table are not being mirrored by the top executives," the worker added. "They do not model with their behavior what we are told to do with our roles."

An Amazon spokesperson responded to the walkout call. "We respect our employees' rights to express their opinions," they said, according to Biz Journal.

If the walkout takes place, it will happen a week before Amazon's annual shareholder meeting.

This isn't the first time Amazon's decision to make employees return to the office has been met with criticism since its announcement in February. Employees have been calling on the company to reverse the mandate even as Seattle business leaders have expressed hope for the return of more than 50,000 to offices to boost the economy.

In March, Beth Galetti, Amazon's human resources chief, rejected a petition signed by more than 30,000 workers opposing the RTO policy.

In the petition shared with CEO Andy Jassy's leadership team, the workers urged the company to reconsider the RTO mandate asking employees to come into the office three times a week beginning in May.

Cyber Monday at the Amazon fulfilment centre in Robbinsville Township in New Jersey