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More Amazon Workers Plan to Strike Over Lack of COVID-19 Protection

By Rich Duprey – Apr 2, 2020 at 12:14PM

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Employees say they want coronavirus-contaminated facilities to be closed and cleaned, and better protection from exposure at work.

More Amazon (AMZN 1.20%) workers say they are planning to go on strike, contending the e-commerce giant is not doing enough to protect them from exposure to COVID-19 on the job.

The Verge reports that workers at Detroit's DTW1 fulfillment center intend to walk out over a number of concerns, among them that Amazon failed to notify them when the first case of COVID-19 at the plant was diagnosed, and delayed in letting them know after a second worker was confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus. 

Now, they're calling for the facility to be closed down and thoroughly cleaned. After that, they're asking for more cleaning supplies to be made available, stronger safety measures, and more transparency when it comes to informing them if co-workers are found to have COVID-19.

Amazon warehouse worker

Image source: Amazon.com.

Beginning to spread

The Detroit work stoppage follows two other walkouts by groups of employees with similar complaints, one in Chicago and the other on Staten Island. Those employees also wanted their facilities shut down until they could be cleaned. Some employees at the company's Whole Foods Market chain have also walked out.

Amazon drew additional criticism over its response to the New York walkout when it fired the employee who organized it. Amazon said he was let go for "violating social distancing guidelines" and the company's safety protocols.

The worker had been in close contact with an employee who had tested positive for COVID-19 and was advised to go on paid self-quarantine, but he returned to work, potentially exposing other employees to the coronavirus, said the company.

Workers at the Detroit facility said they found out about the first case of COVID-19 at their location only through word of mouth, rather than by being informed by management. It was only later that they received a robocall from Amazon warning them that two of their co-workers had been diagnosed with the illness.

Amazon has resisted closing facilities where employees have tested positive for the disease, saying that it is working with health officials and medical professionals on how best to respond when workers are diagnosed with COVID-19.

 

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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