Some Workers Say Amazon Isn’t Doing Sufficient To Shield Them From The Coronavirus

Workers of Amazon, whose workforce contains greater than 650,000 folks around the globe, say the corporate’s response to the quickly spreading outbreak of the novel coronavirus is inadequate.

This week, Amazon despatched a discover to logistics workers providing “as much as two weeks of pay” for many who take a look at optimistic for COVID-19 or are quarantined. The corporate additionally introduced the chance to use for grants from a fund of at the least $25 million to “help workers and contractors around the globe who face monetary hardships from qualifying occasions.”

However warehouse workers mentioned these measures stood in stark distinction to the remedy of salaried workers, who’ve been provided the chance to earn a living from home indefinitely in the event that they felt ailing.

“They’re providing no preventative options.”

“They’re providing no preventative options, solely fee for employees after we’ve been contaminated, which doesn’t assist to gradual the unfold of the pandemic or alleviate the struggling [and] danger of dying from contracting it,” mentioned Chicago Amazon warehouse employee Ted Miin, who works the night time shift sorting packages for supply to houses and companies all through town.

Miin is a member of a gaggle of workers that has been pushing Amazon to enhance working situations at its Chicago facility. The group, known as DCH1 Amazonians United, is asking Amazon for paid sick go away for all workers, together with hourly employees, in addition to paid parental go away to allow them to observe social distancing as really useful by the CDC.

In a weblog put up on Wednesday, Beth Galetti, Amazon’s senior vice chairman of human assets, wrote that the $25 million fund was designed to supply reduction to supply contractors, nonemployees, and Flex drivers, in addition to seasonal workers who is likely to be financially impacted by “qualifying occasions,” together with a “pure catastrophe, federally declared emergency, or unexpected private hardship.”

The grants, which people should apply for, vary from $400 to $5,000 per individual. Moreover, “impartial supply service companions and their drivers, Amazon Flex members, and seasonal workers” who’re identified with or quarantined attributable to COVID-19 can apply “as much as two-weeks of pay” from the fund.

“The well being and security of our workers and contractors around the globe continues to be our high precedence as we face the challenges related to COVID-19,” Galetti wrote within the put up.

On Monday, the web retailer mentioned warehouse employees who felt ailing might take limitless unpaid time without work with out worry of penalty for lacking shifts. Final week, the corporate requested company workers in Seattle to earn a living from home after two unnamed employees members examined optimistic for the virus.

In the meantime, John Mackey, the CEO of Complete Meals, which is owned by Amazon, wrote an electronic mail to employees on Wednesday suggesting that workers “donate” their paid time without work to colleagues impacted by the virus, Vice reported.

Amazon mentioned it’s conducting “enhanced cleansing” of its amenities. 

Since Monday, Amazon warehouse workers have additionally been gathering signatures on a petition began by employees in New York demanding that the e-commerce big present all workers with paid sick go away. The petition additionally requires different protections, reminiscent of longer breaks to accommodate handwashing, elevated communication in regards to the security measures it’s taking throughout the corporate, and a promise of full pay for all workers and contractors ought to amenities be pressured to close down.

“We’ve seen a rise within the quantity of such items, [which is] inserting a larger pressure on employees. But regardless of bigger workloads, Amazon continues to implement and lift productiveness quotas,” the petition reads. “Whereas Amazon has made some restricted coronavirus lodging, it wants a complete plan to make sure the security of all of its employees and the bigger public, together with giving employees paid go away and never merely extending our unpaid go away, as was introduced lately.”

The variety of signatures on the petition, which was authored by Amazonians United NYC, has not but been launched.

Workers have additionally expressed considerations about whether or not the virus might unfold between workers in numerous amenities or to prospects by way of packages dealt with by an contaminated particular person. The CDC mentioned the virus can survive for hours — and in some instances, days — on surfaces, which it recommends folks disinfect. A virus knowledgeable advised the Washington Put up that whereas it’s unlikely the virus would unfold that manner, “there’s by no means zero danger.”

Amazon mentioned it’s conducting “enhanced cleansing” of its amenities however didn’t reply to queries about what that course of entailed.

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