The lawmakers, led by Cory Booker and together with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, pointed to a information report that mentioned disinfectant wipes and sanitizers had been in low provide at Amazon amenities.
The letter mentioned staff risked poor efficiency scores in the event that they took adequate time to scrub their palms after coughing or sneezing on the job, additionally citing a information report.
“Any failure of Amazon to keep its workers safe does not just put their employees at risk, it puts the entire country at risk,” the letter mentioned, noting the virus might survive as much as 24 hours on cardboard corresponding to Amazon packaging, based on media.
Amazon mentioned the allegations about its practices “are simply unfounded.”
The senators’ letter displays the extreme strain Amazon is underneath to maintain warehouses, staff and the general public secure whereas it delivers items to shoppers world wide, a few of whom are underneath lockdown. It additionally displays ongoing tensions between an organization whose chief is the world’s richest individual and Democrats who’ve lengthy criticized its working circumstances and pay.
The opposite signatories had been Senators Robert Menendez and Sherrod Brown.
Seattle-based Amazon has seen a rush of enterprise because of the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this week it mentioned it could obtain solely very important provides at its U.S. and UK and different European warehouses till April 5, so as to unencumber stock area for medical and family items in excessive demand.
Amazon mentioned it was serving to communities in want whereas defending its employees. It has staggered work instances, ended stand-up conferences throughout shifts and required hand-washing after somebody sneezes or coughs. Workers have allotted time to scrub their palms at any time when they want, with out hurting their efficiency, the corporate mentioned.
“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,” Amazon mentioned.
The senators’ letter requested the corporate to reply a number of questions in writing by March 26, together with whether or not it could conform to cowl workers’ COVID-19 take a look at prices and whether or not it could supply paid sick go away to staff who should not recognized with the virus.
The corporate has introduced different advantages for workers scared of contagion, corresponding to limitless unpaid time without work for hourly staff by the tip of March.
The coronavirus has led to a minimum of 11,311 deaths globally, largely in Italy and China. There have been workers at Amazon’s headquarters who’ve contracted the illness, in addition to workers in Europe, the place greater than 200 staff staged a strike on Wednesday calling for the closure of a delivery middle in Saran, south of Paris.
Amazon mentioned this week it was closing a New York Metropolis supply station for a interval of cleansing after a employee there examined constructive for the virus. The senators requested if Amazon would pledge related non permanent shutdowns ought to the identical circumstance come up at amenities sooner or later.
One of many greatest U.S. employers, Amazon has opened greater than 500,000 full- and part-time jobs within the nation, lots of them for success and supply roles. It mentioned this week it could rent 100,000 extra U.S. warehouse and supply staff to cope with the surge in on-line orders in the course of the outbreak.