Amazon workers have been sounding the alarm about working in unsanitary conditions. Now, there are reports that warehouse workers worldwide have tested positive. Details inside…
Last week, we told you about Amazon warehouse workers who were sounding the alarm about working in unsanitary conditions. Warehouse workers in New York and Chicago told The Washington Post that Amazon isn’t taking enough precautions as orders pile up, forcing them to work in unsanitary conditions. Workers made claims their co-workers were only sent home if they had coughs.
Now, there are reports that Amazon workers across 10 of its warehouses globally have tested positive for COVID-19. The company is now being pressured by unions and workers-rights groups to shut down its facilities.
Business Insider rounded up several recent news articles that report workers who have tested positive for the deadly virus in New York, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Connecticut, and Oklahoma.
Last week, Amazon announced that workers at three warehouses in Europe (two in Span and one in Italy) had tested positive for the virus, but they never closed the warehouses, which resulted in Italian workers to strike. As they should.
So check it, Amazon confirmed that at least one worker at its largest NYC warehouse (located in Staten Island) tested positive for COVID-19, but its STILL open – filling orders and making shipments. As custodians work on cleaning and sanitizing the facility, warehouse workers STILL instructed to pack boxes for delivery and have reportedly received very little information from management about the person’s diagnosis, according to Athena, a workers-rights advocacy group. The infected NYC employee was last onsite on March 11th. Amazon has reportedly asked anyone who had contact with them to take 14 days of paid leave.
“We are supporting the individual who is recovering,” a spokesperson for Amazon told Motherboard. “We are following all guidelines from local officials and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site.”
It’s reported Amazon is currently consulting with health authorities about “how to handle building closures for deep cleaning when employees test positive for COVID-19, and that that process includes an evaluation of where the infected employee worked, how long they worked, and how much time had passed since an employee was in a building, among other factors.” In the meantime, warehouse workers are terrified about coming to work while the company “figures out” its next move.
“I’m scheduled to work on Saturday and Sunday, but I’m scared especially finding out that they had a positive case and didn’t shut down the warehouse or nothing,” Rina Cummings, who inspects packages on the ship dock at the Staten Island Amazon warehouse told Motherboard. “I don’t get how they can get away with that stuff. It’s not right. There are a lot of people who work there, and who take a crowded bus to work together. They can call what they’re doing social distancing but with the way that virus spreads, it’s not enough.”
On the bright side…
In the middle of a pandemic, we won PTO for ourselves and ALL Amazon workers. This is *how* we did it and how you can join us. Hopefully it serves as an example of how ya’ll can get started too! https://t.co/BBIZpeazQE
— DCH1 Amazonians United (@Dch1United) March 22, 2020
Amazon workers in Chicago were able to win paid time off (PTO) for ALL Amazon workers. Here’s how they did it:
“We heard that Sacramento Amazon workers started a petition for PTO. We saw pictures of them bravely walking out, demanding a meeting with their regional manager. We decided that we had to take action too. We managed to get 251 coworkers to join us in signing our PTO petition. Three crews from three different shifts turned the petition in to our top boss at three mandatory “All-Hands” meetings. More than half of our coworkers started wearing “Amazonians United for PTO” buttons at work everyday. We went up against the wealthiest man in the world and we won. We’re growing our movement, join us! This is just the beginning and this is the story of how we’ve been winning.
Congrats to them! You can read more here.
By the way, Amazon recently announced they were suspending shipments of all nonessential products to its warehouses. They will now only accept shipments of “household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products” to its warehouses until April 5th to deal with the high demand of those products amid the Coronavirus crisis.
The company also also said it planned to hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers to help manage the increase in sales. Folks should think twice about applying for these new jobs considering the potential dangers people already employed by the company allege.
Get it together, Amazon!
Photos: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock.com