Amazon is tracking its warehouse staff and will fire them for failing to socially distance themselves from their co-workers.
Workers at facilities across the United States are said to have received letters from their employer explaining they could be sacked after just one warning.
A number of Amazon employees have walked out in recent days over conditions and pay amid the coronavirus pandemic. One worker told CNBC it is understood cameras would be used to watch and review staff for any potential violations.
An Amazon spokesman told DailyMail.com they are taking ‘intense measures’ to ensure safety, adding: ‘We’ve had some instances of employees intentionally violating our clear guidelines on social distancing at our sites, which endangers both the individual and their colleagues.’
It is understood workers will be warned if they are caught failing to follow the new rules. They may then be fired if are found to have broken them for a second time.
The spokesman added: ‘Individuals who intentionally violate our social distancing guidelines will receive two warnings – on the second documented offense, termination may occur.’
A worker wearing a protective mask and gloves carries Amazon.com Inc. boxes during a delivery in the Bronx borough of New York
Amazon employees hold a protest and walkout over conditions at the company’s Staten Island distribution facility on March 30
Workers at facilities across the United States are said to have received letters from their employer explaining they could be sacked after just one warning
The US is now barreling towards the infection’s projected peak day on April 16 when experts predict there will be over 3,000 deaths in 24 hours. The death toll reached 11,000 across the country Monday.
One worker in Illinois welcomed the move, saying: ‘It was very hard to get into people’s heads that they need to abide by this. People really weren’t paying a lot of attention. But we don’t want anybody to do anything that’s unsafe.’
Staff at an Amazon delivery facility in Chicago protested Saturday, looking for more protections as they work. Police who broke up the vehicular picket were told they should be ‘ashamed’ of themselves, Patch.com reports.
Their colleagues in New York City also walked out last week and one worker was fired after protesting at the Staten Island facility.
Grocery and warehouse workers – many in low-wage jobs – are manning the frontlines amid worldwide lockdowns, their work deemed essential to keep food and critical goods flowing.
They are insisting employers pay them more and provide masks, gloves, gowns and access to testing.
A driver wears a protective mask while traveling in an Amazon delivery truck in New Rochelle, New York
Protesters are seen at Amazon building in Staten Island on March 30
Major grocery stores across the US report first employee deaths
Top supermarket chains across the United States are reporting their first COVID-19 employee deaths after at least four staffers at retailers like Walmart and Trader Joe’s died.
Uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic has fueled stress among workers afraid of contracting the disease from customers and unexpected store closures.
Two Walmart employees at the same Chicago-area store, a Trader Joe’s worker in New York, and a greeter at a Maryland Giant grocery store passed away in the last two weeks.
The Washington Post reports that thousands at grocery store staffers nationwide continue to work as 368,254 Americans were infected with COVID-19 and 11,000 died.
Those numbers include grocery store employees who have complained of not having protective gear – like face masks and gloves – during shifts. Dozens have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Experts said the influx of employee infections and deaths could likely affect grocers’ ability to both maintain and add new staff.
At the moment, Walmart, the largest private employer in the United States, announced they would hire 150,000 workers, while Kroger will boost staff by 10,000.
Several grocers’ are incentivizing potential workers with promises of masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and an extra $2 an hour.
In a handful of states – Minnesota and Vermont were the first – have given grocery workers a special classification that allows them to put their children in state-paid child care while they work.
Unions in Colorado, Alaska, Texas and many other states are pressing governors to elevate grocery workers to the status of first responders.
To alliviate the concerns of some their workers Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, said it is rolling out face masks and temperature checks at all its U.S. and European warehouses by next week.
The company has also been in contact with the CEOs of two coronavirus test makers as it considers how to screen its staff and reduce the risk of infection at its warehouses, according to internal meeting notes seen by Reuters.
Worker at the Chicago facility who went on strike over the weekend said they were concerned about a lack of communication when one of their colleagues tested positive for the virus.
One driver said: Two people got confirmed with coronavirus and they never told us it was in the warehouse. The drivers also, we’ve got to go in the warehouse, load our vans and everything.
‘There is no such thing as social distancing [in there] because you’re all up close on each other.’
Amazon say they have made ‘several changes to align with social distancing guidance’ including increased cleaning and disinfecting at sites, no longer holding stand-up meetings during shifts, and a new cell phone process for those who need to be in contact with their families or childcare providers’.
A spokesman told the DailyMail.com: ‘Our employees are heroes fighting for their communities and helping people get critical items they need in this crisis. Like all businesses grappling with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we are working hard to keep employees safe while serving communities and the most vulnerable.
‘We have taken extreme measures to keep people safe, tripling down on deep cleaning, procuring safety supplies that are available and changing processes to ensure those in our buildings are keeping safe distances.
We are committed to protecting our employees through our preventative health measures, enhanced cleaning and sanitation, and a broad suite of new benefits, including extended paid leave options for fulltime employees, additional $2 per hour, double time for overtime, and paid time off (PTO) benefits for regular part-time and seasonal employees. We enforce strict 6’ social distancing on our property and throughout our facilities.
‘We also communicate when a COVID-19 case is confirmed in one of our buildings to all individuals who work at that site —not just to those who’ve come in close contact with the diagnosed individual.’