Google Workers to Walk out, Along With Amazon and Microsoft Employees, for Sept. 20’s Climate Strike

September 16, 2019, 6:07 PM UTC

Google employees have announced they are joining their big tech counterparts at Amazon and Microsoft in walking off the job on Sept. 20 to participate in the global climate strike.

The climate change protests are set to take place on Friday in 150 countries around the world, sending a message to leaders who are set to meet Monday, Sept. 23 for the 2019 Climate Action Summit. A second wave of protests is also scheduled for Sept. 27.

The Google Workers for Action on Climate Change group confirmed in a tweet on Saturday that it was organizing Google employees to attend the march. It was not immediately known how many Google employees are planning to walk out in protest.

Jack Kelly, a former research engineer at Google’s DeepMind, who now runs Open Climate Fix, a nonprofit focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, tweeted his support for the walkout.

“I’m so pleased this is happening,” he wrote on Twitter. “Google Cloud’s enthusiastic sales pitch to upstream oil & gas producers heavily influenced my decision to leave Google.”

As big tech’s power, business practices, and the internal treatment of employees have come under scrutiny, Silicon Valley has seen a wave of activism.

Google employees have turned to walkouts as a way to put attention and pressure on the company to take action on a variety of issues. More than 20,000 Google employees previously walked off the job last November in protest, after it was revealed the company offered seven-figure exit packages to male executives accused of sexual misconduct, while remaining quiet about the reasons for their departures.

A Google spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fortune regarding the climate change protest.

As of Monday afternoon, 1,235 Amazon employees are planning to participate in the climate action walkout on Friday, marking the first major moment that workers have left their jobs at the Seattle headquarters during Amazon’s 25-year history as a company. The employees are taking vacation days to protest, since the march isn’t a company sponsored event. Microsoft employees are also planning to walkout, according to the Microsoft Workers 4 Good Twitter account. A Microsoft spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Amazon employees are hoping to put pressure on their company to use its tremendous money and power to act with even more urgency when it comes to addressing climate issues.

Their list of demands include piloting electric vehicles first in areas that are most affected by pollution created by Amazon, committing to zero emissions by 2030, cutting custom Amazon Web Services contracts for fossil fuel companies, and withholding donations to politicians and lobbyists who don’t believe in climate change.

“What we wanted to see Amazon do was just prioritize this issue. We want Amazon to take ownership over its impact, to become a bold leader in the space, and influence the rest of the industry. We need to be setting the pace to be getting to zero emissions,” Sarah Read, a user experience researcher on Prime Video and spokesperson for Amazon Employees for Climate Justice tells Fortune.

A statement from Amazon touted a variety of sustainability initiatives the company has taken to help “reduce the sources of human-induced climate change.” Those include plans to reduce the carbon footprint of half of Amazon shipments by 2030. Another program focusing on sustainable packaging aims to reduce unnecessary packaging materials. Amazon also plans to share its company-wide carbon footprint and details of related programs later this year, an Amazon spokesperson says in a statement to Fortune.

Given Amazon’s growth rate, the goal to cut its carbon footprint in half by 2030 isn’t enough, according the striking Amazon employees. They want more action.

“Amazon is one of the world’s most innovative companies. We pride ourselves on being a leader,” they say in the blog post. “But in the face of the climate crisis, a true leader is one who reaches zero emissions first, not one who slides in at the last possible moment.”

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