Amazon employees protested by the hundreds during a lunchtime demonstration in Seattle on Wednesday after the company brought back in-person requirements for three days a week.
Truly, having to drive to work for three days must be a harrowing experience with much struggle and hardship, but not long ago Americans were actually expected to go to the office for at least five days a week. Is three days of responsibility really too much for Seattle progressives?
Some footage from yesterday's protest at Amazon HQ, if I worked at the spheres I'd feel safer with this person working from home. pic.twitter.com/TmiqsKzo4m— James Bulltard (@jamesbulltard7) June 1, 2023
Seattle workers say the change is a "step backwards," arguing that driving to work puts employees at risk and also harms the environment with extra carbon emissions.
“I’m out here because I refuse to just sit idly by while mandates are dictated from above down that don’t make sense and hurt the planet, hurt families and individual lives,” one quality assurance engineer said. “And just to get us into a seat at the office for their tax incentives.”
The irony of this statement is obviously mind boggling. Progressives were overjoyed to have government officials and corporate CEOs micromanage the lives of the American public with mandates only a couple years ago. Now, they're pretending to be victims of oppression as normal work requirements return. Activists went on to sing protest songs to display their unity and admonish Amazon for "greenwashing."
HAPPENING NOW: Hundreds of Amazon employees are protesting outside HQ in Seattle for being “forced” to return to work in-person.— Katie Daviscourt (@KatieDaviscourt) May 31, 2023
Amazon mandated employees to return to the office last month. They have been working remote since the start of the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/XOVSk20fhS
The bottom line in this debate is simple - No one is forced to work at Amazon. They can leave at any time.
Many conservatives would be happy to see the company go down the drain along with its extensive financial support of woke media and ESG projects, and their first reaction might be to say "Good, Amazon made their bed, let them wallow in it." However, it's also important to acknowledge that no company owes any employee anything other than the wages outlined in their contract. Employees dictating operating policies of businesses violates the fundamentals of the free market. Workers don't get a say, only owners and customers as a whole get a say. Workers are only free to quit.
The carbon emissions angle is a convenient ploy. With covid no longer the great terror to be exploited, progressives are moving on to climate change as a means to gain leverage. And though fear and virtue signaling can sometimes sway the business world to placate certain groups for a time, the pursuit of profits and growth will always win in the end. Amazon is fine with playing woke when it's to their advantage, but once their margins are at stake they will gladly look elsewhere for a new workforce.
Around 93,000 tech jobs were lost in 2022, and there has been 168,000 layoffs so far in 2023. Given the rapid decline in profits and the rise of job losses the past year, many of the Amazon workers protesting against three days in the office today will be begging for any hours in the office tomorrow.
Is the resistance to in-person work in progressive cities across the US really about fears of covid, saving the planet from scary carbon, or is it just childish entitlement? Three years after the covid pandemic was used as an excuse to shut down large swaths of the American economy and put millions of people out of work, certain groups, particularly in the tech sector, have actually benefited from the restrictions and they want to keep it that way.
In the early months of the work-from-home dynamic productivity remained stable, perhaps because many people were going above and beyond in order to make extra money or ensure job security in uncertain times. However, it did not take long for some employees to get comfortable and suddenly productivity plummeted for five consecutive quarters. It was the first instance of such a decline since 1948 and the illusion of the work from home Utopia was dashed.
Companies realized that remote work was a pipe-dream and that most people need to be outside the home environment in order to focus on their tasks. But, they still could not pressure employees back into the office after joining in the hysteria over covid. Now, with Joe Biden officially calling an end to the pandemic this year there isn't any reason to give employees a free pass to lounge at home. Or is there?