Amazon Workers Are Scared, Unprotected As Coronavirus Sweeps Through Warehouses

Emily Peck

Earlier this week, workers at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, New York, were told an employee in the facility tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus

Then they went back to work.

“After they told us, the building was just running as it has been,” said Terrell Worm, an Amazon worker in Staten Island and member of Make the Road New York, an activist group. “It’s like they didn’t even say anything; it was just business as normal,” he said on a conference call organized by Athena, an anti-Amazon coalition of groups, with reporters Wednesday.

Amazon workers are on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, helping get food and necessities delivered to millions of Americans who are house-bound. Company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, the richest man on earth, has said he’ll do everything he can to keep his employees safe.

But workers don’t feel that way. “To watch Amazon executives say they are protecting workers is infuriating,” one New England driver told HuffPost, asking for anonymity to protect their job.

At least 10 Amazon warehouse workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 as of Thursday, according to public reports. Employees say many more are likely sick. The company is not making cases public; news about cases have filtered out via warehouse workers. The company just shut down a Kentucky warehouse because of the outbreak, only after staffers protested because three workers tested positive for coronavirus.

Warehouse workers and delivery drivers say they lack protective gear like goggles, masks and gloves. And that they don’t have adequate amounts of sanitizer to wipe down their workstations and are working close together ― despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that recommend social distancing. Meanwhile, the amount of work is staggering.

“It is very dangerous and scary. I’m scared for my own safety and the safety of my own community,” said Monica Moody, who...

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