Amazon’s warehouse workers continue to test positive for COVID-19. They’re one of the few companies that haven’t halted operations. This because the government has deemed them an essential service.
Why Amazon Is An Essential Service
To avoid the crowds which gather at stores, many people are opting to do their shopping online. Amazon provides plenty of essentials, such as toilet paper, pet food, medicine, etc.
So, people find it to be a convenient and safe solution to simply order from their website. However, this does mean that Amazon’s warehouses, where they store and ship the orders from, need to keep running. Unlike other companies, Amazon is looking to scale up their operations to meet the rising demand. They plan to hire 100,000 more workers to ensure that they can make their deliveries on time.
The Workers’ Fears
The workers themselves are quite frustrated with Amazon’s treatment of them. Many of them feel like they aren’t doing enough to protect them from catching the virus. The company doesn’t notify them of the fact that someone at their particular warehouse has tested positive for the virus. They either find out through rumours online or hear about it on the news.
As a result, a lot of these workers have to face a dilemma. Continue working in an unsafe environment to earn a living, or stay at home to avoid the risk of infection, but struggle to pay next month’s rent? Bobbi Johnson, a worker at Amazon’s DTW5 plant in Detroit spoke to The Verge about this matter. “They should have closed that building down and sanitized that whole building before they let us come in,” she said.
“And they should have given everyone a robocall, because you never know if you bumped into that person in the bathroom or anything, because not only are you putting your life at risk, you’re putting the people that you come in contact with’s lives at stake,” she added further.
Johnson is especially upset at Amazon’s lack of transparency since she has sick children at home. Her son, an asthmatic, was finding it hard to breathe. Her daughter also developed a dry cough. She’s concerned that she may have unwittingly carried the virus home and infected her children.
Amazon Facilities With Positive COVID-19 Cases
So far, Amazon has reported positive cases at 10 of their warehouses all over the US. The Washington Post reports that these facilities are in Shepherdsville, Ky; Jacksonville, Fla.; Katy, Tex.; Brownstown, Mich.; Oklahoma City; Moreno Valley, Calif.; Joliet, Ill.; Wallingford, Conn.; and at two New York City facilities. Amazon has even closed down the Shepherdsville facility until April 1, 2020.
Amazon maintains that they’ve stepped up the frequency and intensity of cleaning at their facilities. The workers, however, may choose to stay work despite their assurances.