Democratic lawmakers in the US are now on the tails of Amazon over it’s decision to fire its worker who protested warehouse operations during the Coronavirus pandemic.
There were about 5 Democratic lawmakers who sent over a letter which was addressed to the CEO of the company Jeff Bezos, adds to public scrutiny Amazon is facing over the dismissal, at a time when the company is racing to update safety protocols, keep warehouses open and ship essential goods to shoppers who are shut indoors.
The event leading to the dismissal of Christian Smalls who came to the company’s Staten Island warehouse in New York to a protest which he had helped organize for the closure of the site. What led to the protest was growing concern over contraction of the Coronavirus disease which have now been reported among staff at more than 50 Amazon warehouses, according to the New York Times.
Amazon then proceeded to fire Smalls because according to the company, Smalls had violated a paid quarantine to join the protest. The event leading to his dismissal prompted the NYC mayor to announce a probe and the state’s attorney general to demand a U.S. labor board investigation.
So earlier on today, a letter was sent on which Sen Booker requested responses to the cause of the event.
They cited a media report suggesting that Smalls’ two-week quarantine may have come after Smalls “had begun organizing their colleagues to demand more workplace transparency and stronger workplace protections.” The quarantine should have ended five days before the protest based on a possible March 11 exposure, the letter said, citing the media report.
“The right to organize is a bedrock of our economy, responsible for many of the greatest advances achieved by workers over generations,” the letter said.
According to Amazon which justified its own action to firing Smalls as he’s said to be putting others health at risk based on his presence at the event. The company had said it had put to place all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of its staffs and also respect workers’ rights to choose a union.
On top of site cleaning, Amazon said it is requiring temperature checks and social distancing, and it is making masks available at all U.S. and European warehouses.
Meanwhile a note was leaked from an Amazon executive meeting which further added a blowback over the firing issue whereby Amazon’s general counsel described Smalls as not being “smart or articulate.”
Meanwhile the General counsel later added the health risk posed by Smalls got him frustrated and clouded his judgement. Other signatories to the senators’ letter, which referenced the leaked notes, include Robert Menendez, Sherrod Brown, Richard Blumenthal and Kirsten Gillibrand.