Amazon, Instacart Employees Going on Strike to Demand More Coronavirus Protection

Workers at Amazon and Instacart are planning to strike to demand better protection from employees amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Employees in Staten Island, New York are protesting Amazon’s decision to keep open a warehouse despite a confirmed case of the virus there last week, CNN reports.

Christian Smalls, who is leading the walkout, told the outlet that other employees have tested positive as well but the company has not acknowledged that. He said as many as five to seven workers have the coronavirus.

"The plan is to cease all operations until the building is closed and sanitized," Smalls told CNN. "We're not asking for much. We're asking the building to be closed and sanitized, and for us to be paid [during that process]."

Smalls said Amazon’s warehouses are “breeding grounds for this pandemic.”

Instacart, too:

Instacart shoppers are also planning a nationwide strike on Monday, vowing to boycott the app until the company provides an additional $5 per order in hazard pay, free safety equipment, and expands its sick-leave policies, Vice reports.

The workers said they would strike until the company meets their demands.

“While Instacart’s corporate employees are working from home, Instacart’s [gig workers] are working on the frontlines in the capacity of first responders,” Vanessa Bain, a lead organizer of the strike, told Vice. “Instacart’s corporate employees are provided with health insurance, life insurance, and paid time off and [are] also eligible for sick pay and paid family leave. By contrast its [gig workers], who are putting their lives on the line to maintain daily operations are afforded none of these protections. Without [us], Instacart will grind to a halt. We deserve and demand better.”

Companies say they’re improving conditions:

Amazon told CNN that the company "recently implemented daily temperature screenings in our operations sites as an additional preventative measure to support the health and safety of our customers and employees."

"We believe direct communication is the best avenue to discuss feedback, and our teams onsite are speaking directly with employees each day to hear their questions and discuss options that are available in this ever changing environment," the statement said.

“The health and safety of our entire community — shoppers, customers, and employees — is our first priority," Instacart told Vice. "Our goal is to offer a safe and flexible earnings opportunity to shoppers, while also proactively taking the appropriate precautionary measures to operate safely. We want to underscore that we absolutely respect the rights of shoppers to provide us feedback and voice their concerns. It’s a valuable way for us to continuously make improvements to the shopper experience and we’re committed to supporting this important community during this critical time.”


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