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Amazon employees claim company dishonest about COVID-19 cases

* 88 workers tested positive for Coronavirus, while figure could be higher, say staff

*Company not taking our health, safety seriously; they were in absolute denial that anything was wrong

* These claims are simply not true, replies Amazon

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As the global e-commerce giant continues to deny all claims and says it is practising what it is preaching, workers at Amazon’s Minneapolis-area warehouse in Shakopee MN, the facility where 88 employees tested positive for Coronavirus, are still up in arms about Amazon’s lack of decisive response to the ravaging virus.

The company is essentially concealing the exact nature of what’s going on, said the affected workers.

When questioned about the scene at the warehouse, workers told Digital Trends that managers would lie about anyone being sick until the warehouse was dazed with dozens of COVID-19 cases.

Some of the workers, according to report, said that, in their estimation, the real number of positive Coronavirus cases might be higher than the 88 cases as earlier reported.

Others stated that they didn’t hear about the new cases from Amazon’s managers, but from the media instead.

William Stoltz, a three-year veteran at the warehouse disclosed that “from the beginning of this, they’ve tried to downplay and hide the extent of it inside the warehouse.

“I can see that workers’ safety is not the overriding concern. Keeping packages shipping is the overriding concern.”

Despite all that Amazon says it’s doing for its workers, both Stoltz and his co-worker, Tyler Hamilton, said that Amazon’s effort to keep employees informed has been muddy at best with blurring messaging in respect of the actual situation in the workplace.

In Stoltz and Hamilton’s opinion, the company’s text messages confirmed that there had been “cases” of COVID-19 in the warehouse and that the warehouse was being sanitised, but little else, according to the report.

The texts shared with Digital Trends were fuzzy, informing workers of “additional confirmed cases” of the disease as opposed to hard numbers.

Hamilton said: “They were in absolute denial that anything was wrong. I figured maybe we had 30 or 40 cases, but 88! That’s shockingly high.”

As a matter of trust in the firm, the report said that when the pandemic was still in its infancy, warehouse worker Habiq Mohamed had alleged that management was lying about whether there were COVID-19 cases at that specific location.

Mohamed said: “I asked them how many people were sick, and they said, ‘oh, we don’t know.’ Amazon is not taking our health and safety seriously.

“People have to keep working when they feel sick, and they don’t tell us how many people are sick. They send us these unclear messages; just tell us the rate! Can you please just tell us the truth? We are grown people.”

Hamilton stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Mohamed, saying that workers at the warehouse can no longer trust the company or its local management.

“Honestly, it’s management’s fault. And a lot of it is corporate’s fault. As long as I’ve been there, it seems like every couple of weeks or months, something happens where they shoot themselves in the foot,” Hamilton declared.

One of those self-inflicted wounds showed up in the break rooms of all places, Hamilton said.

He disclosed that “they literally had TVs placed in the commons areas of the warehouses that had a recording from the General Manager playing on a loop that was saying ‘there are no cases of COVID here’ and ‘people are fear-mongering,’ and ‘why are they sowing fear at a time like this,’ and then as soon as they had the first case, they sent out a text, and they took all the TVs down.”

Workers say Amazon is in the dominant position here, leaving concerned workers little choice but to suck it up, run the risk of getting sick, or stay at home without pay.

“Each worker is put in a position where we’re having to make a risk calculation. Are we willing to go into work if it means catching the virus? But going on leave means no money,” Stoltz stated.

Denying the workers’ claims, Amazon says what Hamilton, Mohamed and Stoltz are saying is false and that it’s practising what it’s preaching.

According to Timothy Carter, Amazon spokesperson, in an e-mail to Digital Trends, “these claims are simply not true.

“We utilise a variety of data to closely monitor the safety of our buildings, and there is strong evidence that our employees are not proliferating the virus at work.

“What we see generally is that the overall rate of infection and increase or decrease of total cases is highly correlated to the overall community rate of infection.”

He stated that “over the months of COVID-19, thousands of employees and partners have worked at our Shakopee site, and we believe strongly people are not spreading the virus at work given the robust safety measures we’ve put into place.”

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