Essential workers at Amazon, Walmart, and other major companies are planning a nationwide walkout for Friday to protest working conditions, The Intercept reports.
Workers at the two retail giants, as well as Whole Foods, Target, Instacart, and FedEx, are planning to call in sick or walk off the job.
“We are acting in conjunction with workers at Amazon, Target, Instacart and other companies for International Worker’s Day to show solidarity with other essential workers in our struggle for better protections and benefits in the pandemic,” Whole Foods employee Daniel Steinbrook, who organized the strike, told The Intercept.
Workers say companies hiding coronavirus cases:
The strike comes as workers allege that retailers like Amazon have hid the real number of coronavirus cases at their warehouses.
Jana Jumpp, an Indiana Amazon employee, and her team found at least 500 coronavirus cases in at least 125 Amazon facilities but believes the real number is much higher.
“While we respect people’s right to express themselves, we object to the irresponsible actions of labor groups in spreading misinformation and making false claims about Amazon during this unprecedented health and economic crisis,” an Amazon spokesperson told the outlet. “We have gone to extreme measures to understand and address this pandemic.”
Workers call for better pay, protection:
The workers are calling for compensation for all unpaid time off used since the crisis began, hazard pay or sick leave, protective equipment, and cleaning supplies, as well as more transparency in the reporting of cases.
“These workers have been exploited so shamelessly for so long by these companies while performing incredibly important but largely invisible labor,” Stephen Brier, a professor at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, told the outlet. “All of a sudden, they’re deemed essential workers in a pandemic, giving them tremendous leverage and power if they organize collectively.”