While Amazon has become one of the few left lifeline for many people who have to buy household essentials without stepping out of their homes amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, some of the warehouse workers are now voicing their concern and anxiety that their jobs are putting their lives or the lives of their families at risk.
Even as the state’s emergency operations centre in Sacramento, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered everyone in the state to stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Amazon has asked its workers that their job at a distribution centre was essential and would be required to continue to come to work.
The warehouse workers are asking the company to provide paid sick leave regardless of whether the person tests positive for COVID-19 or not, given the fact that its quite difficult to get access to a test.
Talking to a mediahouse, some of them raised concerns about the pressure of working longer hours, lack of worker screening for possible symptoms and adequate social distancing measures.
The condition is becoming more acute as the pandemic is worsening by the day. The Atlantic, on Wednesday, reported that a worker at an Amazon distribution centre in New York tested positive for the virus.
Amazon has announced this week that it will be shifting its priorities for household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand products coming into the fulfillment centres.
The online giant had also announced plans to hire an additional 100,000 workers in the United States to keep up with the rising demand.
Meanwhile, this Friday, four Democratic US senators wrote a letter to Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos expressing concerns that the online retailer has not given enough support to warehouse staff during this pandemic.
Led by Cory Booker and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, senators pointed that disinfectant wipes and sanitisers were in low supply at Amazon facilities. The letter said workers risked poor performance ratings if they took sufficient time to wash their hands after coughing or sneezing on the job, citing a news report.
Amazon has been seeing a rush of business as a result of the outbreak. The Coronavirus has led to at least 11,147 deaths globally, largely in Italy and China.