Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) sent a letter Friday to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asking for “detailed information” about his plans to protect warehouse workers from the coronavirus.
“We write to inquire about your company’s efforts to protect its employees who, even during this unprecedented global health crisis, continue to fulfill online orders at Amazon’s more than 100 warehouses across the country,” states the letter.
“Reports show that Amazon’s U.S. sales have spiked as many Americans turn to the online retail market for essential products as the federal government continues to encourage residents to stay home in order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus,” it continues.
Workers in at least 10 Amazon warehouses tested positive for COVID-19 this week while more than 1,500 employees have signed a petition asking for increased protections during the pandemic, including paid sick leave, child care pay, hazard pay, and the closure of any facilities where a worker has tested positive.
“You encouraged your employees to take care of themselves, yet you failed to recognize the vital role that Amazon plays in guaranteeing their safety. In fact, workers at Amazon warehouses worldwide continue to raise concerns that their employer is not doing enough to protect them from exposure to COVID-19,” Omar and Sanders write in their letter.
They go on to criticize Bezos for his company’s “proven record of high health and safety standard violations” and ask him to provide responses to 10 questions regarding his plan to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
“But as reliance on your business grows, so do the demands on your employees, as do the risks they face personally. We ask that you intensify your efforts to protect the health and safety of your warehouse workers. No employee, especially those who work for one of the wealthiest corporations in the world, should be forced to work in unsafe conditions,” the letter concludes.
The letter was signed by 12 other members of Congress, including Reps. Angie Craig (D-MN-02), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14).
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Bernie Sanders” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “Amazon Warehouse” by Fibonacci Blue. CC BY 2.0.