According to the report, Amazon employees have tested positive for COVID-19 in eight warehouses across the US. Marking the company’s deterioration that could jeopardize the well being of its workers and its ability to provide food and other household items to millions of Americans unable to leave their homes.
Since last week Amazon warehouses have confirmed cases of COVID-19 among employees in Staten Island and Queens, New York; Jacksonville, Florida; Oklahoma City; Brownstown, Michigan; Katy, Texas; Wallingford, Connecticut; and Shepherdsville, Kentucky.
Last week, the Queens facility was temporarily shut down but was back up and running within one day, after cleaning had been completed.
Although the number of confirmed cases has risen, they remain small relative to the overall workforce of Amazon, which is approximately 300,000 employees in the USA.
Amazon also confirmed that it plans to recruit 100,000 new warehouse and distribution services staff to accommodate the increase in orders to fulfillment centers for the company, as millions of Americans are obeying orders to remain indoors and gradually turning to online shopping.
Following directives from local authorities, we help individuals and take drastic steps to ensure the health of all workers at our sites, “said Tuesday an Amazon spokesperson.
When Amazon continues facing more cases in its warehouses or distribution networks, the ability to bring goods to its millions of consumers who have been told to stay home, possibly for months, may be drastically undermined. Many warehouse employees can also opt to stay at home to avoid having the disease.
Some staff complained that Amazon is pressuring them to reach the cost per hour at which they want orders to be fulfilled, a practice they fear is undermining healthy sanitary practices like washing hands after a cough or sneeze. Some have talked of “stand-up” meetings where each shift begins with staff standing shoulder-to-shoulder.
An official from Amazon told NPR that the company has increased the scale and intensity of cleaning at all locations. In line with social distancing, Amazon has also made improvements at its work sites, including removing stand-up meetings during shifts and spectacular start and break times.
Amazon announced Monday separately that it had kicked nearly 4,000 third-party retailers from its marketplace and pulled more than half a million product deals due to price gouging in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.