We publish a petition written by workers at Amazon’s distribution center in New York, which calls for Amazon to take a series of necessary and non-delyable measures worldwide to deal with the Coronavirus emergency: the sanitization of all environments, the reduction of productivity standards and paid leave for all in case of closure or reduction of working hours or according to the personal needs of each one, security measures for drivers. In spite of the pandemic, Amazon does not renounce efficiency and profit and indeed sees in this emergency a chance to increase earnings thanks to the closure of public spaces and isolation in the houses. In Italy, while stringent security measures are by now in place, warehouses and factories remain open and Amazon, like many other companies, is taking completely insufficient measures and exposing its workers to danger of contagion. Strikes and protests are taking place everywhere, calling for the closure and sanitation of plants and for the government together with companies to guarantee income and wages despite the current crisis. While many have the privilege to lock themselves down in the houses, workers all over the world are still required to go to work putting themselves and their families at risk. The petition, also thanks to the growing transnational connection between warehouses in different countries, is already circulating in the United States, France and Poland and aims to collect signatures of Amazon workers from all over Europe and the United States and their supporters. If you want to sign please find here below the links to the form in the different languages!
Dear Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos,
As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds and communities everywhere prepare for the worst, Amazon workers have become crucial in getting people their food, water, and sanitation supplies. We have seen an increase in the volume of such goods, placing a greater strain on workers. Yet despite larger workloads, Amazon continues to enforce and raise productivity quotas. At the same time, many workers have been shocked to discover the company has been illegally denying them paid sick leave.As Amazon employees, we are concerned about the company’s current lack of protective measures. While Amazon has made some limited coronavirus accommodations, it needs a comprehensive plan to ensure the safety of all of its workers and the larger public, including giving workers paid leave and not simply extending our unpaid leave, as was announced recently.
We demand that Amazon take the following steps immediately and consult with us on further steps in the near future:
1) Inform us about measures that Amazon is taking to ensure the safety of all of its employees, contractors, and workers at its subsidiaries (Whole Foods, etc).
2) Pay workers for all normally scheduled hours in the case of temporary closures or limited hours of operation of any Amazon worksites due to the coronavirus. In the case of full or partial closures, contract drivers should still be paid at their normal rate for the time they would otherwise be working.
3) Give workers enough paid sick leave to deal with the impact of the coronavirus, regardless of how much accrued sick time we have or differences in local laws. This includes workers who have symptoms of the virus, workers who must care for a loved one with symptoms of the virus, workers whose childcare arrangements are disrupted due to school closures or similar issues, and workers who are in quarantine even if they don’t have symptoms. Other companies have already begun taking these measures; Amazon should lead on this issue.
4) Allow workers to take the frequent and regular hand washing breaks we need to ensure our own safety without any penalty from the company, even if these breaks prevent us from meeting productivity quotas. World Health Organization officials report that the coronavirus may persist on surfaces for several days. We ship goods to customers all over the world. It takes extra time to safeguard the safety of not only workers, but of customers and the broader community.
5) Encourage and support state and federal efforts to pass laws requiring companies to immediately provide adequate paid sick leave for their workers. Amazon is not the only company with workers vulnerable to the effects of this pandemic. Governments should immediately impose paid sick leave laws requiring all companies provide adequate paid time away from work to cope with the effects of the coronavirus.
Here the link with the first 1500 signatures from three continents: https://medium.com/@amazoniansunitednyc/we-amazon-workers-demand-coronavirus-protections-16f28ad8b15f