Amazon fired the leader of the strike a warehouse worker at Staten Island demanding for more protections for workers amid COVID-19. According to Chris Smalls, a management assistant at the warehouse, the company fired him due to the strike call. Smalls, along with other workers, marched out to pay attention to the deficiency of protection tools for warehouse workers. The employees are also urging Amazon to shut down the facility after an employee tests positive for the novel coronavirus previous week. The organizers stated that around fifty people joined the strike.
Amazon has fired an employee based at its Staten Island warehouse after he participated in a worker walkout protesting the company’s coronavirus response. https://t.co/MV7oqwZ7l3
— CNN (@CNN) March 31, 2020
In a statement, Smalls said that Amazon would somewhat fire workers than face up to its complete failure to keep workers, their families, and communities safe. He said with the decision of the company, he got annoyed and disappointed but did not shock. Normally, the firm would rather sweep an issue under the mat and acting like to keep workers as well as working communities safe.
Amazon on Terminating Smalls employment
A spokesman of the e-commerce giant confirmed the news to fire Smalls. Further, he explains that the worker received several warnings for violating social distancing guidelines, and he denied to remain quarantined after coming into contact with a coronavirus infected associate. In spite of the instruction to stay home with salary, he came on site on 30th March, and also putting his squad at risk, the spokesman said. His conduct is intolerable for the company; that’s why they terminate his job because of these several safety issues.
Amazon was not clear about the number of workers that join the strike walk, saying fifteen people participate in the protest at the facility. Moreover, the firm called the allegations of workers as baseless and said it took extreme level measures to make sure the safety of employees while on the work. In a statement, the company said that just like all other businesses fighting with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they also tried their best to keep their workforce safe while serving communities and the most susceptible. The fact is the vast majority of workers continue to emphasize and do the brave work of delivering for customers on a daily basis.
NY Attorney General on the Amazon’s firing Smalls incident
Letitia James, the Attorney General of the New York State, called the Amazon’s firing of Chris Smalls shameful and announced that the Office of Attorney General would consider all the legal possibilities, as well as called on the National Labor Relations Board to inspect the matter. James stated that at the peak of the worldwide pandemic, Chris Smalls, along with his colleagues, protested publicly the deficiency of the safety measures that Amazon took to protect them from coronavirus.
I’m considering all legal options & calling on the NLRB to investigate.
Amazon, this is disgraceful. https://t.co/Cgu09LmwHL
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) March 31, 2020
She says that the right to organize is a law in New York, and any revengeful action by management is not allowable under law. At this stage, when several residents of New York are struggling with health and economic issues amid the outbreak, the officials have a huge concern about their safety, and the action from Amazon is immoral and cruel. Instead of the efforts of Amazon, the employees of Amazon at different facilities argue that the precautionary measures are not enough to keep them safe.
Lack of Safety measures in Amazon Warehouses across the U.S.
According to several of Amazon’s employees, uneven safety measures at different facilities across the United States have spread feelings of disbelief between the workers and their management. Workers show their worry that their managers are not honest, either employee infects due to the virus so that they can maintain enough to keep the facilities open.
Moreover, at some Amazon facilities, employees say crucial supplies such as hand sanitizer and antiseptic wipes are limited or not available, outing them at high risk of infecting from the virus. Workers of warehouses said the administration forced them to choose between going to the job and risking their health and lives or staying home without salaries and not able to pay their bills.