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Some Employees Say Amazon Isn’t Doing Enough To Protect Them From The Coronavirus

Some Employees Say Amazon Isn’t Doing Enough To Protect Them From The Coronavirus

Employees of Amazon, whose workforce consists of greater than 650,000 individuals 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 staff providing “up to two weeks of pay” for many who check optimistic for COVID-19 or are quarantined. The firm additionally introduced the chance to use for grants from a fund of no less than $25 million to “support employees and contractors around the world who face financial hardships from qualifying events.”

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

“They’re offering no preventative solutions.”

“They’re offering no preventative solutions, only payment for workers after we’ve been infected, which doesn’t help to slow the spread of the pandemic or alleviate the suffering [and] risk of death from contracting it,” mentioned Chicago Amazon warehouse employee Ted Miin, who works the night time shift sorting packages for supply to properties and companies all through town.

Miin is a member of a bunch of staff that has been pushing Amazon to enhance working situations at its Chicago facility. The group, referred to as DCH1 Amazonians United, is asking Amazon for paid sick go away for all staff, together with hourly staff, in addition to paid parental go away to allow them to follow social distancing as beneficial 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 offer reduction to supply contractors, nonemployees, and Flex drivers, in addition to seasonal staff who is likely to be financially impacted by “qualifying events,” together with a “natural disaster, federally declared emergency, or unforeseen personal hardship.”

The grants, which people should apply for, vary from $400 to $5,000 per individual. Additionally, “independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and seasonal employees” who’re recognized with or quarantined resulting from COVID-19 can apply “up to two-weeks of pay” from the fund.

“The health and safety of our employees and contractors around the world continues to be our top priority as we face the challenges associated with COVID-19,” Galetti wrote within the put up.

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

Meanwhile, John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon, wrote an e mail to workers on Wednesday suggesting that staff “donate” their paid time without work to colleagues impacted by the virus, Vice reported.

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

Since Monday, Amazon warehouse staff have additionally been gathering signatures on a petition began by staff in New York demanding that the e-commerce big present all staff with paid sick go away. The petition additionally requires different protections, akin to 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 staff and contractors ought to amenities be compelled to close down.

“We have seen an increase in the volume of such goods, [which is] placing a greater strain on workers. Yet despite larger workloads, Amazon continues to enforce and raise productivity quotas,” the petition reads. “While Amazon has made some limited coronavirus accommodations, it needs a comprehensive plan to ensure the safety of all of its workers and the larger public, including giving workers paid leave and not simply extending our unpaid leave, as was announced recently.”

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

Employees have additionally expressed considerations about whether or not the virus might unfold between staff in several amenities or to prospects through 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 individuals disinfect. A virus professional informed the Washington Post that whereas it’s unlikely the virus would unfold that manner, “there’s never zero risk.”

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

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