An Amazon warehouse employee has died from COVID-19
An Amazon employee who worked at its fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York died due to Covid-19. This is the facility where the fulfillment workers have been calling for better safety measures against coronavirus.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of an associate at our site in Staten Island, New York, His family, and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting his colleague,” Amazon spokesperson Lisa Levandowski said.
Amazon said the employee who died was last at work on April 5, he was diagnosed with coronavirus on April 11 and was in quarantine after that. The company also said that the employee did not come into contact with any other coworker.
Amazon officials told the media that they have been taking hands-on measures to protect the health and safety of their employees. However, workers at the Staten Island facility have gone on strike many times in the last month over Amazon not taking adequate precautionary measures for the health and safety of the employees during the pandemic. The first death of an Amazon warehouse worker occurred on March 31.
Amazon has seen workers walkout in protest over the safety measures taken at their facilities. The company has aggressively fired workers retaliating safety conditions at warehouses. They have fired at least six workers since the pandemic began. Moreover, Amazon Vice President Tim Bray resigned over the firings of whistleblowers. Amazon is also facing a lawsuit over the firings. A fired whistleblower has revealed that almost 50 to 60 employees have contracted the disease five have died.
However, Amazon has been defending the working conditions at its facilities and has stated that the company has taken active measures to protect its workers from any infection including social distancing and screening workers for high temperatures and providing masks. Amazon has also been unclear on statistics of how many warehouses have had coronavirus cases and on the number of workers who have fallen ill. In its quarterly earnings release last week, the company stated that it planned to spend USD 4 billion on COVID-19 safety measures for its workers. Whereas the workers say that safety precautions are still insufficient.
Amazon has been hiring more and more workers to meet the rising demand of customers during the crisis. It has hired 175,000 workers recently. The company has been facing severe criticism over the safety measures and bad working conditions at their warehouses. Workers fear that these warehouses are the breeding ground of the virus which could be transferred to their family members and even customers.
Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum has said, “Amazon should immediately close down the Staten Island, New York facility and disinfect it. What the company claims it is doing is not working. To protect its employees, there must be independent monitoring in all Amazon facilities, and not just empty promises. We cannot afford any further loss of life at Amazon facilities anywhere.”