Amazon warehouse workers are planning another “Mass call out” this week in order to bring attention to what they call a lack of protection for employees who continues to work for the company amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The protest plan is said to have been signed by some 300 Amazon workers from about 50 facilities to take part in the protest according to reports from United for Respect which is a worker rights group.
Participating in the mass protest would require workers to call out work “en masse across the country” starting today and all through the week. he protest is also going to be taking place across several days due to the fact that workers are scheduled to report to their shifts on different days and at various times.
Also, the protesters are clamoring for the closure of any Amazon facility that has reported cases of the COVID-19 as well as provide testing and two weeks of pay for workers during that time.
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Among their request includes the provision for paid sick leave, guarantee healthcare for all Amazon associates, eliminate rate-based quotas “that make hand-washing and sanitizing impossible” and commit not to retaliate against associates who speak out as well as other list of demands.
This will be the first nationwide call-out to the e-Commerce giant where its workers are seeking more safety and protections against the deadly Coronavirus. This will not be the first of protests as there have been some smaller number of protests being held against the treatment of workers by the company an example being the walkouts at the Amazon facilities in Staten Island, New York Detroit and Illinois in recent weeks.
Their calls have also sparked action from some of Amazon’s corporate employees, who are hosting a “virtual sick out” on April 24 to demand that the company reinstate fired workers and to protest its treatment of warehouse workers.
The firing of Chris Smalls in recent weeks had caused outrage as well as demands by some important government officials seeking answers as to why the company took such step. Chris Smalls is a management assistant at an Amazon facility said he was fired for organizing the strike but Amazon claimed he was fired for violating a social-distancing rule imposed on him because he had been exposed to co-worker who had earlier on tested positive to the coronavirus disease. Aside that, the company also fired two other of it’s workers for violation of internal policies.
Amazon declined to comment on the walkout plans for this week but the company had downplayed the walkouts in the past stating that only a small percentage of workers at the facilities participated in the protests and that wouldn’t have any disruption to operations.
An Amazon Spokesperson had at some point highlighted numerous steps the company had taken to protect its warehouse workers during the pandemic. For example, the company said it had increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning at all of its sites and requires that employees sanitize and clean their work stations at the start and end of their shifts.
Another measure taken was to check employee’s temperatures when they report tow work and has supplied them with face masks.
But all that seems not to be enough according to the warehouse workers who believes the company isn’t doing the needful to protect them from contracting the coronavirus while performing their duties. Monica Moody, a packer at an Amazon facility in Charlotte, North Carolina, said it’s one of the reasons why she plans to participate in the “mass call out” tomorrow.
“I just want better treatment,” said Moody, who is also a member of United for Respect. “I would feel a whole lot safer if they would just close down facilities for two weeks and clean them. I would go back to work, no problem.”
There have also been pressure from government officials demanding Amazon close down facilities which have reported cases of the Coronavirus. Meanwhile Amazon sees itself as being very important during this time of the pandemic as more people are locked in their homes, they needed to make orders for food and groceries as the demands had risen much more higher leading to the company last week pausing and virtually placing its customers on queue.