An Amazon worker at the company’s massive warehouse in Staten Island, New York has reportedly died from COVID-19. The news comes right when all eyes have been on the online retailer’s protection policies for its employees. Concerns have since heightened surrounding the security of the employees at work.
Amazon’s spokeswoman Lisa Lewandowski’s statement read, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of an associate at our site in Staten Island, NY” mailed to AFP on Tuesday. She also added that ” his family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting his fellow colleagues”.
The employee’s identity has not been revealed, but is said to have last worked at the New York facility on April 5 and had tested positive for the virus on April 11. His family notified the company after his death, on Monday, following which warehouse managers alerted men at-work. According to Amazon, there was no known contact of the man with others at site since he had tested positive.
The e-commerce giant had already been hitting the headlines since warehouse workers and activists staged protests demanding actions in favor of workers’ security rather than putting their lives out in danger. There have been several protests and whistleblower accounts of the conditions that workers are subjected to, despite coronavirus pandemic wrecking havoc across the US.
In March, Amazon had fired employee Chris Smalls after he organized a walkout of workers at the warehouse claiming that the company was failing to take enough precautions to protect its warehouse staff who are are the highest risk among all of being infected of the corona virus. Smalls claimed that about 50-60 employees at the facility had contracted the illness. As of now, the company has not revealed the number of workers who have tested post for the virus, raising anxiety among staffers.
According to reports, at least five Amazon employees have died from coronavirus working at warehouses in Hawthorne and Tracy, California and others in Whole Foods Market. The Seattle-based company has become the lifeline for consumers stuck inside their homes in self-isolation and lockdown receiving overwhelming demand of online orders, in view of which the company is hiring 175,000 additional workers to cater to this peak demand.
Last week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had announced that the company would spend $40 billion to facilitate delivery alongside ensuring worker’s safety while operating through the outbreak. Amazon had also listed its updated measures to check employees’ temperature on-duty, cleaning facilities at work, distance between workers among others.