MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More than 50 Amazon warehouse workers in Shakopee walked off the job early Sunday morning due to COVID-19 concerns.
According to employees, the decision was made after workers reportedly discovered two confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the facility. In addition, employees say a worker who has been staying at home on unpaid time due to fear of spreading the virus to her family has been terminated.
The group, which is co-led by Hafsa Hassan, says this comes as hundreds of Amazon workers are protesting the company’s decision to eliminate its unlimited unpaid time off.
“We have been asking for weeks for meaningful paid leave and a clear plan for how Amazon would keep us safe if a positive case was found in our facility. Instead of listening to us, it appears that Amazon has chosen not to reveal the true extent of the spread of the virus and fire the workers who have bravely spoken up,” Hassan said. “Now they’re even taking away our unlimited unpaid leave, forcing us to make an impossible choice between keeping our families safe or losing our jobs. Amazon has utterly failed to protect workers like me, potentially putting not just us but our families, neighbors, and customers at risk. This is the last straw.”
Workers say frustrations have been brewing for weeks after employees filed a complaint with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, demanding that Amazon close the facility after reports that a worker was told by a doctor to self-quarantine.
Amazon spokesperson Jen Crowcroft gave this statement to WCCO Sunday night:
This group is spreading misinformation. Of the more 1,000 employees at our Shakopee, Minnesota site, 25 people—less than quarter of a percent of associates—participated in today’s demonstration. Since the early days of this situation, we have worked closely with health authorities to respond proactively, ensuring we can continue to serve communities while taking care of our associates and teams. We have implemented more than 150 significant process changes to support our teams, including increasing rates of pay, adjusting time off, and providing temperature checks, masks, gloves and other safety measures at our sites.