FBA Warehouses staying Open after Workers Infected with Coronavirus


#1

The first case of an infected worker in Queens New York FBA warehouse. The worker was sent home but the warehouse remains open the day after disinfecting. Workers are fearful continuing to work in close quarters.

The Atlantic: Exclusive: Amazon Confirms First Known Coronavirus Case in an American Warehouse
by Olga Khazan
March 18, 2020

Quoted from the Article:

“Workers at the Queens, New York, facility say employees were expected to come in for their night shift after the case was identified. Amazon denies this.”

“Workers in several of the company’s European warehouses have contracted the virus, and Amazon opted to keep those facilities open, prompting outcry from workers. In both Spain and Italy, which have high rates of the coronavirus, the company has nevertheless kept facilities open.”

Where is the testing that Amazon has promised along with Walmart, Walgreens, Target and CVS who have promised drive-by testing for customers?

It seems like the workers are more at risk for exposure than customers.


#2

This is considered an “Essential” business that must remain open just like hospitals, grocery stores, gas stations, etc… that have infected workers.
People are depending on the essential items that have been ordered from Amazon.


#3

How long do you think essential workers will feel confident and safe about their jobs when there is no testing to find out who among them has been exposed to the virus and who might be spreading it?


#4

What is the difference with this “Essential” worker and a health care worker that knows they are being exposed.
Somebody will be willing to do it just so that they have a paycheck coming in.


#5

Just because some are willing to expose themselves to a deadly virus for a paycheck doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be protective testing in place to limit their exposure.

There is a shortage of tests even for health care workers who might be endangering their patients. Not testing Amazon warehouse workers might ultimately endanger Amazon’s customers not just their warehouse workers.

Essential workers should not be disposable and exposed to unnecessary risks just for a paycheck.


#6

Which is the case for most warehouse workers. However, exposure to CV in the workplace may lead to workers compensation claims.

Protecting customers is something many businesses place a priority on, even above that of staff. Best Buy is going to curbside delivery tomorrow and not allowing customers to enter the store.

Beginning Sunday, March 22, we will offer contactless curbside service at all locations across the country where state or local laws allow. Rather than ask you to come into our stores, any items you order on BestBuy-dot-com or the Best Buy app will be delivered to your car curbside. If, for any reason, you didn’t order the product in advance and the product is in stock in the store, one of our employees will be more than happy to go get it in the store and sell it to you while you remain in your car. This service also extends to returns and exchanges, the period for which has been extended on most products so that you have more time. Only employees will be allowed in the store, but we are determined to serve you as fully as we can. Unfortunately, we are temporarily unable to continue our product trade-in and recycling services.

No more in home deliveries or installations either.


#7

I read through Governor Cuomo Guidance on Essential Services and did not see anywhere where it states that “essential” businesses MUST stay open, rather that they are allowed to. Whereas those deemed “non-essential” must close.

Hospitals, even though on the list as “essential”, are not going to shut down. They are an entirely different matter. But it seems to me, if Amazon wanted to, they could choose to shut down all NY operations if they wanted and are not forced to keep operating.

March 20, 2020 Albany, NY
Governor Cuomo Issues Guidance on Essential Services Under The ‘New York State on PAUSE’ Executive Order

Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced he is signing the “New York State on PAUSE” executive order, a 10-point policy to assure uniform safety for everyone. It includes a new directive that all non-essential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions effective at 8PM on Sunday, March 22. Guidance on essential services under the executive order is as follows:

ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES OR ENTITIES, including any for profit or non-profit, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or its corporate or entity structure, are not subject to the in-person restriction.

(Essential Businesses must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health).

This guidance is issued by the New York State Department of Economic Development d/b/a Empire State Development and applies to each business location individually and is intended to assist businesses in determining whether they are an essential business and steps to request such designation. With respect to business or entities that operate or provide both essential and non-essential services, supplies or support, only those lines and/or business operations that are necessary to support the essential services, supplies, or support are exempt from the restrictions.

For purposes of Executive Order 202.6, “Essential Business,” means:

  1. Essential Health Care Operations, Including:

    research and laboratory services
    hospitals
    walk-in-care health facilities
    emergency veterinary and livestock services
    elder care
    medical wholesale and distribution
    home health care workers or aides for the elderly
    doctor and emergency dental
    nursing homes, or residential health care facilities or congregate care facilities
    medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers

  2. Essential Infrastructure, Including:

    utilities including power generation, fuel supply and transmission
    public water and wastewater
    telecommunications and data centers
    airports/airlines
    transportation infrastructure such as bus, rail, or for-hire vehicles, garages
    hotels, and places of accommodation

  3. Essential Manufacturing, Including:

    food processing, manufacturing agents, including all foods and beverages
    chemicals
    medical equipment/instruments
    pharmaceuticals
    sanitary products
    telecommunications
    microelectronics/semi-conductor
    agriculture/farms
    household paper products

  4. Essential Retail, Including:

    grocery stores including all food and beverage stores
    pharmacies
    convenience stores
    farmer’s markets
    gas stations
    restaurants/bars (but only for take-out/delivery)
    hardware and building material stores

  5. Essential Services, Including:

    trash and recycling collection, processing and disposal
    mail and shipping services
    laundromats
    building cleaning and maintenance
    child care services
    auto repair
    warehouse/distribution and fulfillment
    funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries
    storage for essential businesses
    animal shelters

  6. News Media

  7. Financial Institutions, Including:

    banks
    insurance
    payroll
    accounting
    services related to financial markets

  8. Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations, Including:

    homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
    food banks
    human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in state-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in state-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support

  9. Construction, Including:

    skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers
    other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes

  10. Defense

    defense and national security-related operations supporting the U.S. Government or a contractor to the US government

  11. Essential Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Essential Operations of Residences or Other Essential Businesses, Including:

    law enforcement
    fire prevention and response
    building code enforcement
    security
    emergency management and response
    building cleaners or janitors
    general maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
    automotive repair
    disinfection

  12. Vendors that Provide Essential Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services:

    logistics
    technology support for online services
    child care programs and services
    government owned or leased buildings
    essential government services

If the function of your business is not listed above, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you may request designation as an essential business.

Houses of worship are not ordered closed however it is strongly recommended no congregate services be held and social distance maintained.

Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet.

Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function as described above, should only be made if they are NOT covered by the guidance.

To request designation as an essential business, please click here.

Restrictions on requesting designation as an essential business:

Any business that only has a single occupant/employee (i.e. gas station) has been deemed exempt and need not submit a request to be designated as an essential business.

Businesses ordered to close on Monday, March 15, 2020 under the restrictions on any gathering with 50 or more participants, including but not limited to, bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, casinos, auditoriums, concerts, conferences, worship services, sporting events, and physical fitness centers, are presumed to be compliant with NYS issued restrictions and must remain closed and are not eligible for designation as an essential business for purposes of this guidance.


#8

Commanding more than half of all online biz, Amazon is essential. However, not everything Amazon sells is essential. My advice would be to allow those employees that do not want to work to stay home. Amazon could then prioritize essential product categories.

A lot of people don’t realize how bad off their state is and are still treating this like it is a problem somewhere else. For example, Michigan, Wisconsin and Colorado all have more cases and more deaths per million inhabitants than California does, and those are just the three states that I ran the numbers on. Yet not one of those three states has Shelter At Home like Cali does.

Everyone ought to take a hard look at their business and figure out how to operate with as close to zero person-to-person interactions as possible and do their best to stay home.

CovidActNow (a dot org site) has modeling by state that tells how many people will likely die with and without Shelter At Home. Stay Well.


#9

You have to be a realist and understand the facts that millions will be infected with the coronavirus and hundreds of thousands will die. Only then will you realize NO you can’t shut down the entire United States forever. There is no vaccine and there’s nothing that can stop it. Don’t believe the fake news.


#10

How can there be a shortage of test kits if non-essential people like actors, celebrities, and entire sports teams can get tested if they “feel tired”?


#11

It depends on if you define essential by how much money they have. Currently we have Doctors and nurses without test kits or PPE.
3M I hear is going on 24/7 to make the masks and plastic gowns are now going to be made by a company in Michigan for McClaren?sp Hospitals System.
Another hospital is using and re-using masks in Mich.
Another is asking sewers to make masks.
I am going to the store and hoping shelves are not empty today.
Be safe all.


#12

My wife went to the 99cent store, expecting it to be stripped to the ground, but it was 95% stocked. People are creatures of habit, so people who in normal times would never be caught dead in a dollar store - will still line up for hours to get into a upscale market because they would still not be caught dead in dollar store :slight_smile:


#13

No ground beef, no chicken, no TP, no paper towels, no disinfectant cleaners, no cleanser or hand cleaner.
Was not crowded and people kept their distance pretty much.
On the whole was OK.


#14

It’s not just Amazon, it’s also Costco and in fact, the Costco employee died from it. BUT consider, such places sell food and necessary items for people. What to do? I don’t know what the solutions are. It is chaos.


#15

I don’t believe the fake news, I believe the facts, and I have been studying them since January. I highly recommend anyone that wants the REAL facts go to worldometer (a dot info site) slash coronavirus. There you will find the real closed cases mortality rate (admittedly still not accurate, but considered far more accurate than the active 4.2% mortality rate) and other stats that the WHO pulls from to give the world their day-old statistics. They also have articles explaining the stats, etc.

Being a realist, if we slow the spread with Shelter In Place then we save lives: We keep the hospital system from becoming overloaded. We give the medical system time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. We also postpone the worst of it until summer, when it will likely die down considerably due to sunshine.

This could possibly save many of those hundreds of thousands of lives. Unless we DO find some sort of vaccine or effective drug, I suspect it will actually be millions of lives lost in the US. (The link I provided in my previous post suggests this, with hundreds of thousands projected to die in certain states if Shelter In Place is not enacted)

It is true that we can’t shut down the US forever. We just need to shut down non-essential activities for a couple of months and we should come out… well, not ok but as ok as we can hope for. Please consider the ways in which each of you can limit the spread. Support Shelter In Place.


#16

Some of the Dollar Stores are also more likely to have stock because their chains have bigger warehouses filled with more stuff. Instead of Just In Time inventory mangement they buy up overstock from manufacturers in bulk and sit on it.

Also, your wife may have just gone there on the day the truck came. The Dollar Store near me gets their trucks every Friday and informed me that the other two nearby Dollar Stores get their resupply on Tuesdays. Just ask them and they will likely tell you when to be there.

Right? At least one hospital in LA County stopped testing people that show symptoms. They said they are saving the limited tests for those that need it the most. I guess that means actors, celebrities…


#17

Article: “Here’s what Jeff Bezos is telling Amazon Employees”
Quoted from FoolDotCom an investing site:

“Amazon has also ordered millions of face masks for its employees who cannot work from home. Bezos acknowledged that masks will go to hospitals first and that it might be a while before the online retailer has a supply for its company.”

Apparently Amazon customers will have to wait for masks also. As of this morning, Amazon mask deliveries are expected to arrive sometime in May. This might be too little too late for both Amazon employees and their customers.


#18

The only reason why FBA warehouses are still open is because Amazon has agreed to accept and prioritize essential goods to their warehouses. This happened because Amazon union workers overseas in places like France and Spain protested their rights to safety.

When other businesses were ordered to shut down because they were unessential, Amazon FBA warehouses had a majority of unessential goods also. The FBA warehouses were and are mostly unessential goods. How was Amazon to justify keeping their online business going during this crisis unless the majority of their warehouse goods changed the balance from unessential to essential?

Overseas workers protested their civil rights were being violated when they could not stay home with hazard pay like other union workers, that Amazon with their online business mostly with unessential goods was still allowed to stay open while other businesses with similar unessential goods were ordered to shut down.

Amazon in order to save their online business made a quick move to save their bottom line. Amazon’s solution was to allow workers to stay home without pay. No hazard pay for their workers whose lives are threatened on their jobs.

FBA sellers with unessential goods are now out of luck with their goods indefinitely on hold. Amazon can remain open to online selling of unessential goods currently in their warehouses while accepting only essential goods incoming. Sellers who have Amazon loans who purchased unessential goods for FBA can cool their heels in the dust, Amazon will go on…


#19

Also, apparently Bill Gates and Amazon have partnered together to provide at home Covid-19 test kits for Seattle residents. It seems like those test kits might be put to better use at Amazon warehouses. Especially since there widespread unrest among FBA warehouse workers. There is a strike planned at the Staten Island warehouse tomorrow:

Amazon workers plan strike at Staten Island warehouse to demand coronavirus protections


#20

Quoted from the article ‘The Strike Wave is in Full Swing’: Amazon, Whole Foods Workers Walk off Job"…

"Amazon is allowing contract workers to apply for sick pay if they test positive for the coronavirus or need to self-quarantine due to exposure, but the company is not providing them with paid sick leave as a matter of policy."

One problem with Amazon’s policy to provide sick pay to workers who test positive, is the LACK OF TESTING for Covid-19. Workers don’t receive sick pay if they can’t get tested to prove they actually have Covid-19. There are Amazon workers who are sick at home unable to get tested and not paid for sick leave.