More than 100 Amazon workers walked out of a New York City facility on Monday, going on strike and demanding increased protective gear and hazard pay as they work through the coronavirus pandemic.
“Since the building won’t close by itself, we’re going to have to force their hand,” Chris Smalls, lead organizer of the Staten Island strike, told CNBC. He added that workers “will not return until the building gets sanitized”.
Small alleged that Amazon employees have been exposed to multiple people who have been found to have Covid-19. Employees at the New York facility accuse Amazon of poor communication about worker health. Small himself is in quarantine after coming in contact with an infected co-worker.
The management assistant alleges only “a select few of the general managers” and a handful of colleagues in close proximity were informed about the diagnosis. Another anonymous worker told CNBC gloves were being rationed.
The strikers demanded the company close down the large warehouse for thorough cleaning after reports of multiple employees testing positive for the coronavirus. Workers had already tested positive for the coronavirus at 11 warehouses. One warehouse in Kentucky was forced to close temporarily.Delivery workers for Instacart, a national delivery service also went on strike across the country on Monday, demanding disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and better pay to offset risks faced in bringing groceries to Americans confined to their homes.
Instacart announced concessions to its delivery workers including new health and safety supplies and automatic tipping. In a Medium post, Instacart workers and the Gig Workers Collective said the company’s response was “insulting for a number of reasons”.
“We are heartened by the outpouring of support we’ve received from Instacart customers, politicians, activists and everyday folks worried that they could be exposed to the virus due to Instacart’s craven profit-seeking,” the workers wrote. “It goes to show that corporate greed is an issue that impacts us all, whether one is a shopper directly being affected, or not.”Some Whole Foods workers are also expected to strike