More than 3,000 individual complaints have been filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration by workers who claim their employers are putting them at risk amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The complaints, obtained by The Washington Post under a Freedom of Information request, have been made by essential workers on the front lines of the outbreak.
Employees from dozens of different sectors have all filed complaints in the three months since January, with their stories ‘depicting desperation and a frustration with employers’ who often appear ‘callously unconcerned with worker safety.’
Many complaints come from workers at smaller businesses, with one employee at a Florida beauty parlor alleging that she was still performing facials and full-body waxes without any protective equipment.
Meanwhile, a worker at a call center filed a complaint saying they were required to use communal phones and computers that were ‘unsanitary’. The employee further claimed that social distancing protocols were dismissed, and that workers were forced to sit just two-feet apart.
It comes amid widespread outrage at working conditions at larger corporations that are also continuing to operate amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Friday, Amazon tech workers called for a one-day ‘virtual walkout’ to show solidarity with workers in their company’s warehouses.
More than half of Amazon’s 110 warehouses have reported COVID-19 cases and faced a fierce pushback from employees, who claim safety protocols are not adequate enough to protect them from contracting the virus.
Amazon told DailyMail.com Friday that they have ‘implemented more than 150 significant process changes to support their teams including increasing rates of pay, adjusting time off and providing temperature checks, masks, gloves and other safety measures at their sites’.
More than 3,000 individual complaints have been filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration by workers who claim their employers are putting them at risk amid the coronavirus pandemic. An Amazon employee is seen at a protest and walkout at New York City on March 30
Former OSHA chief David Michaels told The Washington Post Friday that the ‘large number of complaints;’ filed to with the Administration is ‘powerful evidence that workers across the country are terrified and frustrated that their employers are not providing them with safe workplaces,’
The Washington Post asserts that the 3,000 complaints are just a small reflection of wider dissatisfaction, given that many employees do not end up contacting OSHA.
‘People don’t even waste their time calling OSHA anymore. We’ve called OSHA and they’re useless,’ one union president told the publication.
He represents workers at a Georgia poultry factory where they are required to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ while on the job. Three employees have already died from COVID-19.
The Washington Post asserts that the 3,000 complaints are just a small reflection of wider worker dissatisfaction, given that many do not contact OSHA. An Amazon worker is seen protesting in New York City on March 30
The Department of Labor has not implemented any legally-binding rules that employers must follow
Amazon tech workers call for one-day ‘virtual walkout’ over warehouse worker safety
Amazon tech workers have called for a one-day ‘virtual walkout’ to pressure the online retail giant over warehouse safety conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Overwhelmed employees also demanded workers fired for speaking out against Amazon and its lapses in management be reinstated.
The virtual walkout, organized by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, is scheduled for April 24 and asked participating colleagues to take a personal day off at the same time.
More than half of Amazon’s 110 warehouses have reported COVID-19 cases and faced a fierce pushback from employees.
Employees, including fired staffer Christian Smalls, said the company had not provided protective gear, did not alert staffers when their co-workers contracted COVID-19 and didn’t actively sanitize work places.
Consequentially, warehouse workers from New York City to Chicago have staged walkouts and strikes as they plead with Amazon to prioritize their lives over product distribution.
While the OSHA complaints came from a variety of different industries – from The National Parks Service to funeral homes – a majority were filed by healthcare workers.
Those employees, who are servicing sick people in hospitals, doctors’ offices and pharmacies, largely complained about a lack of PPE. Some have accused management of restricting access to N95 masks, while another said they were required to fashion a face mask out of a paper towel.
While OSHA has issued companies with a 35-page booklet with suggestions on how to protect employees, the Trump Administration has not implemented any legally-binding rules that employers must follow.
The result, The Washington Post claims, is a ‘patchwork of precautions’ that leave some workers far more vulnerable than others.
For instance, some grocery stores require their workers to wear masks, while others do not. Some delivery companies equip their employees with cleaning products, while others do not.
The anxiety of essential workers is set to continue as the coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen across the United States.
As of Friday night, more than 690,000 Americans have tested positive to the virus, and 36,185 have died.
A majority of OSHA complaints were filed by healthcare workers and regarded their lack of access to PPE
As of Friday night, more than 690,000 Americans have tested positive to the virus, and 36,185 have died