Some 200 employees are expected to walk out at around 12:30 p.m. in protest of Amazon’s decision to keep the Bloomfield warehouse open for business as usual.
“We want the business closed down and sanitized before we return,” said Chris Smalls, a management assistant at the facility who is leading the walkout.
The online retail giant has been “shady and secretive,” about the outbreak, Smalls said — estimating that the real number of workers with the virus is close to seven, not one.
And staffers fear that, at a facility with more than 2,500 full-time employees, the disease will spread “like wildfire.”
“People are scared, supervisors, managers.. all levels,” Smalls said. “We’re unsafe. There are thousands of employees at risk.”
Amazon has previously said that the infected employee was last at work on March 11 and is quarantined after receiving medical care. The e-commerce giant advised any workers who were in close contact with the sick employee to stay home for 14 days of paid self-quarantine.
But it didn’t detail whether it took any additional cleaning procedures.
Instead, employees have been asked to clean their own workspaces when they come into work and leave, Smalls said.
Some workers have been self-quarantining as a precaution, including those at higher risk of catching the disease. But they’ve been forced to take unpaid time-off, Smalls said, adding that he’s also demanding back pay for those employees.
Smalls implored the company to “do what’s right for the people” — and said
“Our health is as important as your business,” Smalls said. “If you cared about your people you would close the building down. Action must be taken.”