According to a workers’ rights group, over 300 amazon warehouse workers are participating in a protest this week, highlighting the lack of protection for its employees who continue to come to work amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The protest, which started yesterday, will continue throughout this week.
On March 30, 2020, after one staff tested positive for the coronavirus, the warehouse employees spoke up saying there are not enough safety measures to protect them.
United for Respect, the workers’ rights group, also said that more than 300 Amazon workers across at least 50 centres have signed up to take part in the protest. They will participate in the protest by calling out of work together across the country.
The protestors have also called out to Amazon to “immediately close down” any facilities that report positive cases and to provide testing along with two weeks of pay to workers during that time.
They’re also demanding paid sick leave, guaranteed healthcare for all Amazon associates, elimination of rate-based quotas “that make hand-washing and sanitising impossible” and commitment to not retaliate against associates who speak out, among other demands.
The protest marks the first nationwide effort by warehouse workers to demand coronavirus safety protection, after workers staged walkouts at Amazon facilities in Staten Island, New York, Detroit and Illinois in recent weeks.
Their calls have also sparked action from some of Amazon’s corporate employees, who are hosting a ‘virtual stick out’ on April 24, to demand that the Company pull back the fired workers and to protest against its treatment of warehouse workers.
A spokesperson from Amazon had previously highlighted the number of steps the Company has taken to protect warehouse workers during the pandemic. From increasing the frequency of cleaning at all sites and making sure that employees sanitise and clean their work stations at the start and end of shifts, to arranging for employees’ temperatures to be checked when they report to work and supplying them with face masks, Amazon has apparently tried to take as much precaution as possible.
Despite this, warehouse workers feel that Amazon isn’t doing enough to protect them from catching the virus while they’re on duty.
It seems it is the need for “better treatment” that is urging most employees to participate in the ‘mass call out’. Some are willing to go back to work if the facilities are shut down for two weeks and thoroughly cleaned and sanitised.