An eighth Amazon warehouse employee has died from COVID-19 – ProWellTech
An eighth Amazon employee died of COVID-19. The news comes as the company is under scrutiny for no longer being transparent about the increased number of infections among its warehouse workers.
A spokesman confirmed the death reports, saying to ProWellTech: “We are saddened by the loss of an associate who had worked on our site in Randall, Ohio. “His family and loved ones are in our thoughts and we are supporting his colleagues.”
According to the company, the worker from North Randall, a village outside Cleveland, was sent home from work on April 30th. He received a positive test just over a week later on May 8. Amazon claims to have informed other employees of the death and advised colleagues.
The overall number of Amazon workers who tested positive for the virus remains a mystery. The company supports its decision not to disclose this information. “We don’t think the number is extremely valuable,” he said earlier. In a statement given to ProWellTech, he added:
Our infection rates are equal to or lower than the rates of the communities in which we operate. We also see it in our quarantine rates. Quarantine rates are a key part of understanding what’s going on in the workplace – they show that our hard work on social distance is paying off. Unlike others who are hiding beyond HIPAA, we notify every person on the site every time there is a confirmed diagnosis. This notice to employees is a direct text message indicating when the person with the confirmed diagnosis was the last in the building.
Lack of transparency is one of several sources of criticism surrounding Amazon’s COVID-19 response.
While the company has repeatedly said that it has done everything possible to protect employees in its fulfillment centers, it is difficult to avoid potential exposure to the virus among warehouse workers, even with the appropriate PPE. Earlier this month, a letter from 13 state prosecutors asked Amazon to reveal the number of workers who have been affected by the virus.
“We have requested but have not received information on how many Company workers have been infected with COVID-19 and how many have died”, the letter reads. “Provide a state by state breakdown for each company with this information.”
Earlier this week, the New York Times noted a particularly affected warehouse in northeastern Pennsylvania, where apparently more than 100 workers have shown that they are positive for the virus. The exact figure is unknown, as Amazon will not reveal it. Yesterday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted that at least 30 workers in the nearby Kenosha warehouse have tested positive for the virus.
As more home-forced Americans rely on Amazon for deliveries, workers have largely fallen under the “essential services” guidelines issued by many states. In mid-May, the company extended its “risk bonuses” by $ 2 an hour at the end of the month. Amazon has confirmed that it will return to standard wages in June, stating:
To thank employees and help meet growing demand, we have paid our team and partners around $ 800 million more since COVID-19 started, continuing to offer all the benefits from day one. With demand stabilized, we will be returning to our industry-leading $ 15 per hour starting salary next month.
The company was subjected to further scrutiny for the layoffs of several employees who raised public concerns about the treatment of workers during the crisis. While Amazon repeatedly denied that the layoffs were retaliation, the reports were sufficient to warrant another letter, this time from a number of high-profile senators, including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.