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1 Apr 2020

Ross Barkan, The Guardian

Commentary: There is no greater illustration of corporate America’s moral decay than Amazon

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Amazon fired a warehouse worker who had been protesting about conditions at a New York City facility during the coronavirus outbreak... The workers were seeking hazard pay and more protective gear... Amazon claimed Smalls was dismissed because he had close contact with a worker diagnosed with Covid-19 but refused to stay home for 14 days. According to the company’s previous statements, the infected co-worker in question last reported for work on 11 March. Had Smalls been exposed that day, a 14-day mandatory quarantine would have made him eligible to return as soon as 25 March. Smalls, however, claimed Amazon did not send him home until 28 March.

... It’s likely Smalls was dismissed because he was a worker who dared to raise the consciousnesses of those around him... There is no greater illustration of the moral decay of 21st-century corporate America than Amazon... Amazon... is not interested in the social contract. Rather than collaborate with their New York warehouse workers to safeguard their health amid the worst pandemic in a century... Amazon would rather leave an employee without a job at the worst possible moment... The firing sends a clear message: come against us and you will be crushed... An America without guaranteed sick leave and universal healthcare is particularly ill-equipped to protect its inhabitants during a pandemic.