An eighth Amazon warehouse employee has died from COVID-19 – TechCrunch

An eighth Amazon warehouse employee has died from COVID-19 – TechCrunch

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Brian Heater
2020-05-22 18:05:41

An eighth Amazon worker has died of COVID-19. The information comes as the corporate is underneath scrutiny for failing to be extra clear in regards to the wider variety of infections amongst its warehouse staff.

A spokesperson confirmed the studies of the loss of life, telling TechCrunch, “We’re saddened by the lack of an affiliate who had labored at our web site in Randall, Ohio. “Her household and family members are in our ideas, and we’re supporting her fellow colleagues.”

In keeping with the corporate, the employee in North Randall, a village outdoors of Cleveland, was despatched residence from work on April 30. She obtained a optimistic check just a little over per week later, on Might 8. Amazon says it notified fellow staff of the loss of life and has supplied counseling to colleagues.

The general variety of Amazon staff who’ve examined optimistic for the virus stays a thriller. The corporate stands by its determination to not disclose such info. “We don’t suppose that quantity is tremendous beneficial,” it has mentioned beforehand. In a press release supplied to TechCrunch, it added: 

Our charges of an infection are at or under the charges of the communities the place we function. We see that in our quarantine charges as nicely. Quarantine charges are a important half to understanding what’s occurring within the office – it reveals that our arduous work round social distancing is paying off. In contrast to others who conceal past HIPAA, we alert each individual on the web site anytime there’s a confirmed analysis. This alert to staff is a direct textual content message noting when the individual with the confirmed analysis was final within the constructing.

The dearth of transparency is one in all a lot of sources of criticism surrounding Amazon’s COVID-19 response.

Whereas the corporate has repeatedly maintained that it has completed all it might probably to guard the workers in its success facilities, potential publicity to the virus amongst warehouse staff is troublesome to keep away from, even with the right PPE. Earlier this month, a letter from 13 state attorneys common demanded that Amazon disclose the variety of staff who’ve been impacted by the virus.

“We have now requested however not obtained info on how most of the Firms’ staff have been contaminated with COVID-19, and what number of have died from it,” the letter reads. “Please present a state-by-state breakdown for every Firm with this info.”

Earlier this week, The New York Times noted one notably arduous hit warehouse in northeastern Pennsylvania, the place greater than 100 staff have apparently examined optimistic for the virus. The precise determine is unknown, as Amazon won’t disclose it. Yesterday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel famous that a minimum of 30 staff on the close by Kenosha warehouse have examined optimistic for the virus.

As extra housebound People depend on Amazon for deliveries, staff have largely fallen underneath the “important providers” pointers issued by many states. In mid-Might, the corporate prolonged its $2 an hour “hazard pay bonuses” via the tip of the month. Amazon confirmed that it’ll return to plain salaries, come June, stating: 

To thank staff and assist meet elevated demand, we’ve paid our workforce and companions practically $800 million further since COVID-19 began whereas persevering with to supply full advantages from day one in all employment. With demand stabilized, subsequent month we’ll return to our industry-leading beginning wage of $15 an hour.

The corporate has been topic to further scrutiny over the firing of a number of staff which have raised public issues over its therapy of staff through the disaster. Whereas Amazon has repeatedly denied the firings have been retaliation, the studies have been sufficient to warrant one other letter, this time from a lot of high-profile senators, together with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

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