A planned “mass call out” of Amazon employees over safety concerns amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was “grossly exaggerated,” according to the retail giant.
Hundreds of Amazon employees said this week that they have pledged not to go into work, according to worker rights group United for Respect.
“Amazon’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has unnecessarily put the lives of Amazon employees at increased risk and exposure,” the group wrote online. “There are now over 130 warehouses where employees have contracted COVID-19 (Coronavirus) including some warehouses with over 30 confirmed cases because of Amazon’s inaction.
“Nationwide, we have been and will continue to call out sick until Amazon makes the necessary changes to put our health and safety first.”
In response, Amazon spokesperson Rachael Lighty said that the event organized by the labor union was “grossly exaggerated.”
“Already more than 250,000 people have come to work today, even more than last week, to serve their communities,” she said. “We couldn’t be more grateful and proud of their efforts during this time.
“The union organizers’ claims are also simply false – what’s true is that masks, temperature checks, hand sanitizer, increased time off, increased pay, and more are standard across our network because we care deeply about the health and safety of our employees.
“We encourage anyone to compare the health and safety measures Amazon has taken, and the speed of their implementation, during this crisis with other retailers.”
According to Amazon, the comapny implemented a series of preventative measures to help keep employees and customers safe, including tripling down on cleaning and sanitation, providing masks to all employees, implementing temperature checks, and socially distancing.
Each site goes through enhanced cleaning and sanitization multiple times a day.
A spokesperson said, “we are committed to protecting our employees through our preventative health measures, enhanced cleaning and sanitation, social distancing enforcement, and broad suite of new benefits, including extended paid leave options for full-time employees, additional $2 per hour, double time for overtime, and paid time off benefits for regular part-time and seasonal employees.”
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