Warehouse worker force Amazon to take COVID-19 ernst
Early on Tuesday, March 24th, Barbara Chandler drove from her home in Queens, the Staten Island, the Amazon warehouse where they had worked for, for three years. The streets were emptier than usual. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had ordered to close all non-essential shops, two days ago, and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state, had just 20,000. But the camp, called JFK8, was busier than ever before, are flooded with orders from a locked-down population.
Chandler’s co-worker at JFK8 had been sick all week long, but none, as far as she knew, with COVID-19. Still, it was annoying. The day before they were sent home, one of your team members work after you vomited on your station, visited the in-house medical facility, Amcare and tried to continue. A week earlier, she has several sick colleagues to Amcare, including one that said her fiancé had seen COVID-19, and to whom Chandler ever again.
Chandler, 40, had begun to feel uncomfortable over the weekend, but she had checked the temperature and was feverish. Just in case, you would have gone to a coronavirus test after work the day before. She felt she needed to continue to work, as she waited for the result. Amazon would leave give her two weeks of paid, if you tested positive for COVID-19. But if she was sick, to take with something else, you would have to pay without. She had three kids to support, and she was already feeling better.
A week later, JFK8 would be the first of several Amazon facilities to employees, which will be in the protest, calling for the camp was closed and cleaned, after the employee tested positive COVID-19. Amazon subsequent burning of the organizers strengthened the national spotlight and sparked condemnation from trade unions, it promises to be a Federal investigation, and letters from legislators. As the largest Amazon site in the most serious COVID-19-hotspot in the United States, used to meet in the JFK8 as a preview to rising tensions throughout the Amazon fulfillment network. On the one hand, there is a company for the service for millions of homebound Americans can be understood as a help and is determined to maintain the operation in the midst of the crisis. On the other hand, there are employees, which is fighting an increasingly insecure in their jobs and how Amazon to its warehouse staff to meet unprecedented demand, a new push for changes to authorized.
Amazon already has a number of political changes in the response to the pandemic, and many of them long desired by the employee. In mid-March they announced that employees could take unlimited time, without having to pay (in advance, you would be fired more than a certain amount), and you would get up to two weeks of paid vacation, if you tested positive for COVID-19 or were placed under quarantine. Later, the company raised pay, which doubled to $2 per hour to pay for overtime, and part-time workers paid time off. As the virus spread, Amazon moves, storage and break rooms-tables apart, staggered layers, canceled, stand-up meetings, and other adaptations to allow for greater distance between the employees.
But the interviews with 12 JFK8 employees, as well as workers in other camps, the implementation of security measures is uneven. Often changes will be made only after the workers to exert pressure. Following the criticism, Amazon, the alerting of employees has started, when someone at his plant tested positive for COVID-19, but documents obtained by The Verge show notifications still lag behind by days. While Amazon is to be the work of forces in the quarantine of two weeks of paid vacation, a couple of workers that came in contact with diagnosed individuals are not notified. If Amazon says it’s the JFK8 operator fired for violation of the quarantine, the other workers with greater exposure were never contacted.
After the JFK8 exposure, Amazon began checking temperatures at the camp entrance, the rules of enforcement of social distancing, and piloting of fog disinfectant. But the workers had. been sounding the alarms for weeks, and now fear it is too late to prevent an epidemic
Amazon declined to say how many workers in how many facilities had tested positive COVID-19, but Jana Jumpp, a worker in an Indiana warehouse, collects warnings to the workers counted and 314 workers at the 111 facilities that were diagnosed with the virus. JFK8 a hotspot seems to be. At least 14 COVID-19 cases were confirmed, according to the warnings displayed by The Verge. The workers believe the actual number is closer to 30.
March 24th would prove to be a turning point in JFK8. Chandler began work as usual, but after two hours in her shift, another assistant manager, Christian Little, she came over and told her she looked ill, exhausted, with bloodshot eyes and said, you should go home. Other colleagues had noticed, the way to change your appearance as well, but you wrote it. Small, but was afraid of the spread of the virus for weeks and was on high alert.
skylights, 31 years old and a father of three, had previously JFK8 since opening in the year 2018 and the Amazon warehouse in New Jersey, and Connecticut. It’s a good job, he says, with good performances, and he had no complaints. But at the beginning of March, he was worried about what would happen if the virus reached the camp with its 5,000 employees. After some Manager flew back from Seattle, in the time of the biggest Hotspots in the US, and they took the sick Little girl was frightened enough to stay away, using his vacation time, and finally tap the 401k. But now he had to go back, and he had urged management to close the building for cleaning, and institute further safety measures. In the week prior, skylights, and other workers, was concerned about the increasing cases of diseases in the interior, to the manager’s office and said that the building should be shut down and cleaned.
Instead of Amazon made incremental changes, and encouraged the workers to maintain social distance, even if their jobs often made that impossible. (A video of the break-room from March 19th shows a crowded cafeteria with the workers eat and walk within three feet of each other.) “They would say, ‘we have no confirmed cases, we are following the CDC guidelines,'” Small says. “They kept me an apology, and I said, ‘Yes, but people are sick around me.'”
“on the people just looking sick, and on top of that, we hear about the pandemic on TV, it is not almost exist, such as the pandemic, within the warehouse,” says Derrick Palmer, a co-worker, also expressed concerns to the Executive Committee. “There was no social distance to go, it was nothing.”
After the skylights Chandler sent home, he attended a supervisor meeting where he learned that a worker had tested positive for the virus, someone was in the building at the March 11th. Again he cried out to be after the building closed, and again he came across the resistance. Even for the skylights alert, the Manager refused to notify, all JFK8 workers that someone was tested positive, to choose instead to walk the ground and inform the people. The result of the infection, the night was that most of the workers learned of the case, if someone Vice reported the news on Facebook later that day, or, if,. Frustrated, skylights left the building and went home.
“that was the last time Amazon got my services,” says Small. “Then I came back in the building to consider every day at seven o’clock in the morning, and I sat in this building for eight hours a day, try to spread the word, to tell the truth, people. Since the management wanted to keep it a secret, I felt like it was my duty. I couldn’t just sit at home and watch the sick people.”
the next morning, skylights returned JFK8 and went directly into the break room without clocking. New York had confirmed, more than 30,000 coronavirus cases, in the morning, but in the system, little had changed. (A video the next day, on 26. March, shows been separated the tables were, and the lines with tape on the floor, but the workers were still in the vicinity.) On the warehouse floor, skylights and other workers say, the staff often worked shoulder-to-shoulder and shared devices. For several hours, skylights co-workers about the COVID said-19 case, and gathered to visit a group, the general manager ‘ s office, a break in the morning meeting.
Video of the visit shows a tense exchange, with workers and managers about each other scream.
“you can give them to your grandmother, your children, what’s the point? For money?” a worker said. Others wanted to know how many cases had been there at the facility. “Time is of the essence now,” another worker added.
“don’t We, that the decision on the level of the site, whether we close or not,” said a manager. “We are also in accordance with the instructions of the CDC. We’re done with this conversation.”
For the rest of the week, skylights, and other workers went back to the manager’s office every morning, and despite the tense exchange Wednesday, he says JFK8 management was generally supportive, to tell him when a good time would be for the workers to Express their concerns and thank him for keeping the people quiet. But in any case, the leadership would promise their concerns up the chain of the regional administration, and nothing would happen.
Meanwhile, Chandler was at home waiting on your test results. On Thursday morning, she called the urgent care facility and got: you had the virus. You wrote your diagnosis to three supervisors, who asked her how she felt and said she would escalate her case to the human resources and global security. Later, Chandler got a call from HR. “HR told me only said that I should keep it quiet,” Chandler. “That’s all they told me.”
Four days pass before the employee may receive a warning about the second case, when JFK8, but another worker heard the diagnosis of Chandler’s and posted it on Facebook. Overwhelmed with questions, Chandler, the news is written and texted skylights, who took the message to the manager ‘ s office and said that dozens of workers Chandler had come in contact should be quarantined. “They were like, ‘Oh, no, we will keep you informed, over the phone or by E-Mail,'” Little recalls.
Two days later, on Saturday, skylights sat in the break room to talk to employees about the virus, when a senior manager took him aside and told him that last Tuesday he had been in contact with someone who tested positive. She said that skylights are to be placed under quarantine and have to leave the building, to upper lights and two other workers present.
An Amazon spokesman says that the company tell the workers that they came in contact, with respect for employee privacy and it should be first noted that the employee had Little contact with tested positive on 27. March. The spokesperson said Amazon began the notification to the employee immediately and told Little verbally on the 28., he should leave the building and go into quarantine. However, since the supervisor skylights he was exposed said, on Tuesday, 24.—, when Chandler, in the second known case in the plant, was last in the building — Smaller, Chandler, and other workers suspected that the exposure in question, was the moment, skylights, sent Chandler home.
Chandler and skylights both say that this was the exchange of short, about five minutes, and from six feet away. Chandler says, she had closer contact with around 40 people on this day and the previous day. However, as far as she knows, none of the quarantined. Palmer, along with Chandler, was not in quarantine and don’t know who’s on your team, who was the. “You’re going to tell me that none of these 40 employees had contact with her? That’s impossible,” he says. (Amazon declined to say how many workers were placed in quarantine in addition to skylights.)
A worker who is in close contact with Chandler for a long time on the 24. was never placed in quarantine. The worker, who asked to remain anonymous, did not want to learn, and Chandler had tested positive until the Friday after Chandler got their results, if you checked Facebook. At the sight of Chandler’s post, contacted your superiors ask you if you said the quarantine was, HR would be considered calling people shortly after screenshots of The Verge. She has never received a call. On Saturday, they said messaged her supervisor and I was, someone would speak to the workers during their shift the next day. But on Sunday, when the workers returned JFK8, the supervisor in the service to know about the incident seemed to and told her that the security team had analyzed the video and quarantined those who had close contact with Chandler for more than 15 minutes.
“Chris only got quarantined because he started to bark,” the worker said. “I had more contact with Barbara, Chris had about five minutes with her, I had almost a whole morning. And you said nothing to me, until I spoke with [supervisor] and said, ‘we want to mention this? What’s going on?'”
“It was retaliation,” Small says. “It was an attempt to silence me.”
After he was ejected from the building, skylights, decided to organize the way to Start. He has spoken in contact with other workers, he had, in the break room and formed a Instagram group chat. they posted on Facebook and printed flyers, the workers left in the toilets at JFK8 the next day. “We had 24 hours to do it,” Small. “I ran to CVS. I spent $100 on signs and posters. I was on the go. I didn’t sleep the whole night.”
On Monday morning, workers at the JFK8 receive an SMS notification: a new COVID-19 event in the facility was confirmed, the last in the building on March 24th. This, Chandler says, was her. Four days had passed since she tested told superiors positively.
the lunch time, workers. The organizers say protesting a staff of 60, while Amazon, the number of on 15. Many wore homemade masks or bandanas over their faces and signs calling for the buildings were switched off and cleaned. Small returned to the plant for the first time since his expulsion, and stood with the protesters in the Parking lot, addressing reporters.
As he’s home, skylights received a call from the same supervisor that told him in quarantine, he had fired against the Directive by the return to JFK8 and was. In a statement, Amazon said later, it has not compromised fire skylights for the organization of the protests, but for “the health and safety of other persons”, by coming back to the system after the quarantine.
The burn brought skylights to a far larger audience than the way to Start would be. Unions and elected officials issued statements calling for his reinstatement. The mayor of New York Bill de Blasio ordered the city Commission, the human rights fire to be investigated. Small gave interview after interview and appeared on MSNBC the next night. Minutes after the segment ended, JFK8 employee a warning: received three new cases in the facility.
in All the excitement, Amazon struck to demand, with a fair tone, that the Little girl was the real threat to the safety of the workers, and his release, shows how serious the company is, the virus. “I’m confused. Thought you wanted to protect us, our employees?” Amazon public relations head Jay Carney, Bernie Sanders will be tweeted under the sen on Wednesday. “Lord skylights intentionally social distancing violated the rules, again and again, & was Paid to 14-day quarantine for COVID exposure. 3/30 he returned to the place. Knowingly that our team at risk, is unacceptable.”
it turned out that a strategy developed at the highest levels of the company. Vice later received notes from a meeting not attended by the smart of Jeff Bezos, the Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky-called Small “or articulate”, and discussed plans for him, “the face of the whole union/organization of movement.” (Workers began a trade Union efforts to JFK8 shortly after the opening, although the Small says he was not involved.) “Should we spend the first part of our response, the case lay, why was the organizer, the behavior is immoral, unacceptable, and probably illegal, in detail, and then follow with our usual talking points about the safety of the workers,” Zapolsky wrote.
According to the memo leaked, skylights gave yet another round of interviews. “They have tried to silence me from the beginning,” Small says. “All I did was try to help people, in my house, but somehow my life changed in 24 hours, so I’m still trying to cope with this.” He barraged with messages from the Amazon employees around the world. “I have the weight of the world on my shoulders as far as it goes in the industry. I have every person that calls on Amazon from all over the world and write SMS to me. They are helpful and it makes me feel good to know that I have to give them a voice, but to take at the same time, we need to take action. Everyone reaching out to me, I’m like, yeah, you know what you are doing, go the hell out of your building.”
But Small’ dismissal, also a dampening effect on the workers was activism. Multiple workers at JFK8 and other facilities, Amazon say they share his concerns and would support a strike, but to risk after his release, they are afraid of their jobs. Concerned about their health, but to protest cautious that you decided to stay at home without having to pay and hope that the pandemic soon gave way. As the workers in JFK8 a second time went to this Monday, only 10 or so protesting. Other messages of support online from the safety of their homes.
Since the first strike, employees JFK8, in the vicinity of every day alerts about new coronavirus cases. The warnings is not specified, a number, saying only that “several” or “additional” new cases were confirmed. Amazon declined to give a total. Assuming that each alert only two cases, there were at least 14, and the workers appreciate it twice as many.
Amazon has, opposed to the public, the workers-measures to JFK8 and elsewhere, calling their claims “simply unfounded” and saying it has the “extreme measures” to ensure the safety of the employees. But in the Wake of the protests, the company has introduced new safety measures at a rapid clip. Days after the strike at JFK8 and similar protests in Chicago and Detroit, Amazon announced that it would install temperature reader to be sent to his camp, and each would with a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to home. Workers welcomed it as a positive step, although it wouldn’t have caught someone like Chandler, who never ran a fever. After criticism for sending feverish, but not diagnosed workers home without pay, Amazon started to pay partially. In JFK8 and elsewhere, the workers are given masks at the beginning of their shift. The company also said workers would Institute “mandatory social distance,” potentially, dismissal of employees, the “deliberately violating” the guidelines. (A worker received a document posted on JFK8 said that her job is always needed in the vicinity, and worried they would be fired unavoidable injuries.) This week’s Amazon pilot “disinfectant fogging” to JFK8 began and announced that it would begin producing its own diagnostic tests for the workers.
In a statement, Amazon said it has the implementation of the new security measures, which do in the past weeks and will continue to do so. “The health and safety of our employees is our top priority,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “Since the early days of this situation, we work closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the world health organization (WHO) and local health authorities, to be proactive, we react to guarantee that we continue to serve customers while taking care of our employees and teams.”
“Were you slow? Yes, definitely,” says Palmer. “The only reason why you do this stuff, because we blasted them in the media.”
But fear of the workers, the measures came too late to avert a major outbreak, and five of the 12 workers The Verge talked to had decided to stay home, without pay, either out of fear of being infected, vulnerable family members, or provide for their own security. “I have to payroll the salary, I have bills to pay,” said a worker. But she has asthma and lives Her grandmother, and one day in the break room was overwhelmed with fear and never came back. One of the other workers grew alarmed by the repeated alerts about new cases and more came. “I can’t afford not to be there, but for the same reason, I can’t afford to have the virus,” she said.
Chandler is still recovering and has developed a cough. She hopes that she can return to work soon. She is exhausted, your two weeks of coronavirus leave, and now gets only 60 percent of their salary. (Amazon says that employees who exhaust their COVID-19 sick days are eligible for short term disability that pays 60 percent of your salary.)
she believes that she had the virus at the camp. She only goes outside to work and back, and she is in such frequent contact with their co-workers. Chandler wants to had traded Amazon earlier and thinks that it is now too late to safe operation of the bearing without shutting it down and test them all before re-opening. “You should have communicated that to each with the first case,” she says. “And you should have closed the building for the deep cleaning.”
posted on Fri, 10 Apr 2020 15:19:22 +0000