Despite thriving online sales, Amazon.com Inc. has not had a smooth adjustment to COVID-19 and its effects. As its employees struggle to remain healthy and safe, Amazon has been criticized by multiple organizations. A great example of this points to a local warehouse, as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has begun conducting an investigation into the handling of workers’ conditions at an Amazon, Inc. facility near Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
The Hazleton warehouse, which is often referred to as AVP1, has made national news for its willingness to raise concerns with working conditions. The primary complaint coming out of the facility is a lack of preparedness to handle the virus. The grievances included workers’ access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), an inability to maintain social distancing guidelines, access to hand sanitizer, along with other disinfectants, and a lack of time allotted to be able to wash their hands. Amazon, Inc. has strict production quotas, which have been lifted since news of the allegations surfaced. In the first week of April, fear of infection grew so large, that employees were instructed not to touch shipments to or from AVP1 for 24 hours.
AVP1 is one of 10 such facilities like it in the United States, and one of many Amazon, Inc. facilities dealing with outbreaks of confirmed COVID-19 cases. In Staten Island, NY, workers made national headlines by staging multiple protests in the last 30 days. Amazon, Inc. has disputed many claims made by its employees, and has fired one of the employees that orchestrated the Staten Island protest that sparked a work stoppage.
With protests sprawling across cities with Amazon, Inc. facilities, and unions vocalizing their opposition to how the company has handled the virus and its employees’ safety, Amazon, Inc. has claimed to have made changes. It takes the temperatures of each employee at the door (denying any worker with a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit), has laxed its production requirements to allow for more safety measures, and increasing its time and effort to cleaning its facilities.
Situations like these are not unique to Amazon, Inc., as essential workers all across the country are being asked to risk exposure for the sake of their occupation and the greater good. It’s vital that essential workers understand their rights and take all precautions available to stay healthy during these chaotic times. If you have any legal questions regarding your work experience or a workplace injury or illness, please visit oconnorlaw.com or call 1-800-518-4LAW(4529).