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23 Apr 2020

Brian Heater, TechCrunch

Amazon employees plan additional protests over COVID-19 working conditions

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Workers’ rights group United for Respect says more than 300 Amazon employees from 50 facilities plan to take part in the protest. The organization writes, “Amazon’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak has unnecessarily put the lives of Amazon employees at increased risk and exposure,”... [and] calls for additional transparency around confirmed COVID-19 cases, more sanitation and various additional benefits, including two weeks of paid sick leave and health for “part-time, drivers, temporary and contracted associates.”

... “Reports of employee participation in today’s event organized by labor unions are grossly exaggerated,”  Amazon spokesperson Lisa Levandowski said in the statement. “Already today more than 250,000 people have come to work today... 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."

... [T]wo additional employees reported firings they believed were tied to their public criticism of Amazon policy. In March, a Staten Island employee who was critical of working conditions was also fired... Amazon denied the connection. “We support every employee’s right to criticize their employer’s working conditions... but that does not come with blanket immunity against any and all internal policies. We terminated these employees for repeatedly violating internal policies.”