Video Shows Amazon Workers Packed Into Cafeteria Less Than 2 Weeks Ago

Emily Peck

Less than two weeks ago, workers at an Amazon warehouse in New York City were packed together in the company’s cafeteria as the coronavirus epidemic intensified, videos obtained by HuffPost reveal.

One video, taken on March 18, shows workers sitting together at tables crowded in close, even though the company had sent a text to employees two days before stating that it would implement new social distancing measures.

“Everybody’s close to each other, look,” says one woman in another video from the 18th. “We’re gonna die. So pray for me.” She laughs a sort of panicky laugh.

Activists at Athena shared the videos with HuffPost and provided the dates for the clips, two of which have March 18 timestamps.

Things have changed since those videos were taken, Amazon told HuffPost. Social distancing of 3 feet in the break room began on March 18, according to Amazon, and now distancing is at 6 feet.

But the prior failure to keep workers at a safe distance from each other wasn’t due to lack of knowledge. By March 18, politicians, employers and the public were well aware of the severity of the crisis. There were at least 8,525 cases of the coronavirus and 145 deaths reported in the U.S. President Donald Trump signed a coronavirus aid bill that day. New York City was already considering a shelter-in-place order. 

And two days earlier Amazon had implemented policies meant to “maintain social distancing,” such as barring coats, bags and backpacks from going past security, according to a text message viewed by HuffPost. 

Amazon workers say that the massive corporation was then, and still is, failing to do enough to protect them. In response, Amazon workers in Staten Island, New York, plan to go on strike Monday afternoon to protest conditions in their facility, called JFK8. And workers at Whole Foods, which is also owned by Amazon, are planning a strike for Tuesday.

Continue reading on HuffPost