Workers’ lives, more precious than Amazon’s billions

This 26 March 2020 video from California in the USA is called Employee at Amazon fulfillment center in Moreno Valley tests positive for coronavirus | ABC7.

From the campaign of senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in the USA today:

I’m going to ask you to sign a petition in support of Amazon warehouse workers who are organizing to protect themselves during the coronavirus pandemic. I’ll explain more shortly, but if you’re ready to sign, please add your name to Bernie’s petition calling on CEO Jeff Bezos to protect the health and safety of Amazon warehouse workers.

Here is why this is so important today.

Amazon, which paid $0 in federal taxes last year, and whose CEO is the wealthiest person in the world, has tens of thousands of workers in fulfillment centers all across the country, working at a breakneck pace to fill and ship orders.

Despite the best practices advice from public health officials during the coronavirus pandemic, reports indicate that workers are still forced to stand together in close quarters; there are not enough disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizer in warehouses; and there is not extra cleaning of the warehouses.

Just yesterday, an Amazon worker at a 2,500 employee warehouse in New York City was diagnosed with the virus — and not only is the warehouse still open, but it was allegedly cleaned with workers still going about their business.

What is happening is a situation where the greed of Amazon to continue to make billions in profits will overtake the necessary precautions workers must have in order to protect their health and safety. We cannot let that happen.

Earlier this week, Bernie signed a letter echoing the demands of Amazon workers who are organizing to protect their workplaces.

This is what Amazon workers want:

    • Preventative measures in workplaces to make sure workers don’t contract the coronavirus.
    • Paid sick leave for ALL workers, regardless of coronavirus diagnosis.
    • 1.5x hazard pay during the crisis, as workers are taking increased risk in coming to workplaces to fulfill orders.
    • Childcare pay and subsidies, as workers shouldn’t be forced to choose between caring for their children or working, especially as schools are closed.
    • Stop enforcing rate-based quotas and punishing workers during times of increased demand. Workers shouldn’t take shortcuts that compromise health or safety.
    • Immediately close down workplaces that have employees who test positive for coronavirus; provide full pay for all workers at that facility to self-isolate for two weeks; and provide free testing for all workers at affected facilities.

    If you agree that Amazon workers deserve these basic protections from their company and their billionaire owner — the richest man in the world — please sign Bernie’s petition to Amazon now.

    We are dealing with an unprecedented crisis, and this is a time for all of us to look out for one another. I believe that if enough of us stand with Bernie and these Amazon workers, we can win these protections, and set an example of solidarity.

    Thank you for all you do.

    In solidarity,

    Faiz Shakir

    Campaign Manager

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