Amazon’s Largest NYC Warehouse Reports its First Case of Coronavirus
Amazon has confirmed that at the least one employee at its largest New York City warehouse examined optimistic for Covid-19. The facility, which is situated in Staten Island and referred to as JFK8, stays open.
On Tuesday, custodians on the 2,500-worker facility sanitized and cleaned, whereas staff continued to select and pack packing containers for supply and acquired little info from administration, in response to Athena, a nationwide coalition of 50 grassroots organizations working to problem Amazon’s company energy. Amazon warehouse staff with Athena declare that a number of staff on the Staten Island Warehouse have examined optimistic, however Amazon has solely confirmed one to this point.
“We are supporting the individual who is recovering,” a spokesperson for Amazon informed Motherboard. “We are following all tips from native officers and are taking excessive measures to make sure the protection of staff at our web site.”
The spokesperson stated that the contaminated employee had final visited the warehouse on March 11, and the warehouse didn’t shut in response to the an infection. They additionally stated Amazon is at present consulting with well being authorities on easy methods to deal with constructing closures for deep cleansing when staff check optimistic for Covid-19, and that that course of contains an analysis of the place the contaminated worker labored, how lengthy they labored, and the way a lot time had handed since an worker was in a constructing, amongst different components.
“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 on the Staten Island Amazon warehouse informed 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.”
Another present warehouse employee on the JFK8 facility who wished to stay nameless as a result of he feared of retaliation informed Motherboard that administration first knowledgeable staff of the case Tuesday earlier than their lunch break, almost two weeks after the contaminated worker final visited the ability. That employee stated administration informed them to wipe down their stations with further Clorox wipes on Tuesday and to proceed working.
“It’s basically been business as normal here,” that employee, who’s a picker and counter on the Staten Island warehouse, informed Motherboard. “But I left early at present after I heard the information, and I don’t know if I need to go to work for the remaining of the week. I’m mad that they didn’t inform us earlier. So much of staff are actually anxious.”
The outbreak within the Staten Island facility follows studies of staff shutting down an Amazon distribution middle in Queens after a employee examined optimistic on March 18. Warehouses in Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Florida have additionally reported instances over the previous week. The rising quantity of staff contaminated with coronavirus in Amazon’s provide chain marks a looming menace to the e-commerce big’s operations—significantly in New York City, which has change into the worldwide epicenter of the pandemic in latest days. The Staten Island success middle employs staff from all 5 boroughs.
So far, Amazon, in addition to its subsidiary Whole Foods, are seeing elevated gross sales as prospects top off on items and groceries, have resisted closures within the face of worker outbreaks.
As thousands and thousands of Americans hunker down of their properties for the worst of the outbreak, Amazon and Whole Foods staff throughout the nation have been engaged on the frontlines of the pandemic to supply fundamental requirements to prospects. The firm has earned report gross sales however refused to supply limitless sick days to staff—forcing them to decide on between working sick or struggling a misplaced paycheck. Meanwhile, Amazon’s company staff have been instructed to make money working from home.
Meanwhile, Amazon, which remodeled $280 billion in income and almost $12 billion in earnings in 2019, has not provided to supply any paid sick depart to its large contracted workforce, even after they check optimistic for coronavirus. Instead, the corporate arrange a “Relief Fund” for its contracted staff and is soliciting donations from the general public for the fund.
Amazon has provided all of its staff an extra $2 an hour by April and two weeks of paid sick depart provided that they check optimistic for coronavirus.
“The fundamental problem here is one that predates the crisis,” stated Dania Rajendra, the director of Athena informed Motherboard. “This is a time of intense anxiety for almost everybody, especially people who live paycheck to paycheck. It is unconscionable that Amazon is exacerbating our anxiety by failing to let folks know what to expect when workers get sick.”