Worker unrest spreads amid high demand and more Covid-19 cases at Amazon warehouses

An increasing number of Amazon employees around the world are speaking out about their current working conditions during the first few months of Covid-19. The workers say they’re dealing with a dramatic increase in demand. And to fulfill all of the orders on time, some staff are ignoring safe sanitary precautions.

Related: Honda extending plant shutdowns until April 6th

That in part has led to a number of protests at Amazon facilities since the coronavirus outbreak. One example is in Saran, France where several hundred Amazon workers gathered outside a distribution warehouse calling on the company to cease operations or make it easier for employees to work during the outbreak. Feeling their health was in jeopardy, Amazon’s Italian logistics hub in Castel San Giovanni called for a strike.


Thousands of Amazon employees from around the world signed a petition asking for things like; expanded paid sick leave, childcare benefits, hazard pay and for the company to temporary close facilities where workers test positive for Covid-19.


Amazon employees call for the company to temporary close facilities


As of Thursday, there were COVID-19 cases across 10 Amazon warehouses. Business Insider reported three cases of Covid-19 at Amazon warehouses in Europe. A sortation associate at a New York delivery centre told the Washington Post that pressure from Amazon to meet the rate at which it wants workers to fulfill orders could lead workers to ignore safe sanitary practices. Although some reports say workers walked-out during their shift, an Amazon warehouse in New Jersey remains open after an employee there tested positive for COVID-19, as first reported by Buzzfeed. And in Europe, the Financial Times reported Britain’s GMB Union had said UK Amazon is putting “profit before safety.”


Amazon workers demand coronavirus protections


Amazon continues to face growing pressure from unions and workers’ rights groups to shut down facilities. Thousands of Amazon employees from around the world signed a petition asking for things like; expanded paid sick leave, childcare benefits, hazard pay and for the company to temporary close facilities where workers test positive for Covid-19.


Coronavirus could remain on cardboard for up to 24 hours
Coronavirus could remain on cardboard for up to 24 hours

It’s not just Amazon workers, are you at risk? Should you clean your packages?

According to new findings in the New England Journal of Medicine, coronavirus/Covid19 can survive for 24 hours on cardboard. The stability of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and SARS-CoV-1 ( the most closely related human coronavirus) was studied in aerosols and on various surfaces. Virologists then estimated decay rates and compared. The study covered five environmental conditions aerosols, plastic, stainless steel, copper, and cardboard.

US National Institute of Health (NIH) Virologist Neeltje van Doremalen found the virus can survive for 24 hours on cardboard and 2-3 days on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces. They also found the virus could survive for three hours when coughed in the air.