North America/United States/05-04-2020 / Author and Source: www.rt.com
Whole Worker, a group representing employees of the Amazon-owned Whole Foods grocery chain, called for a mass “sick-out” on Tuesday demanding hazard pay for those working during the epidemic, personal protection equipment and in-store safety measures, free testing and treatment for employees, and guaranteed paid leave for all workers who are self-quarantining. They also want an immediate shutdown of any location where workers test positive for the virus and an expansion of healthcare benefits to part-time and seasonal employees.
According to a statement posted to Twitter later that day, Smalls was fired later that afternoon over the strike.
OUTRAGEOUS. Amazon just fired our member Chris Smalls, who helped organize today’s walkout to demand the company #ProtectAmazonWorkers.
His statement: “Amazon would rather fire workers than face up to its total failure to do what it should to keep us…safe.” #AmazonStrike
“We are walking out on @Amazon because they are lying to us, not caring about our health & safety.
There’s people sick in the building, they’re not caring about this pandemic, it’s affecting us the hardest here in NY.
The grocery-delivery service reportedly tried to head off the impending strike over the weekend by offering to provide workers with hand sanitizer and removing the “no tip” option for deliveries, as well as extending the period in which workers who test positive for coronavirus will be allowed to take paid leave. But like Amazon, it only offers two weeks of paid leave to employees who have tested positive for the virus. Workers want paid leave for those who can produce a doctors’ note attesting to a preexisting condition placing them at risk.
Gig workers like those at Instacart, which has 200,000 shoppers on its payroll, are independent contractors and thus lack basic employment protections guaranteed even to their comrades at Whole Foods. Shoppers describe a competitive, even dystopian environment where workers scramble to poach high-dollar orders and photograph other shoppers breaking protocol – bringing their kids with them on the job, for example – in order to get them fired. The company insists business is booming amid the epidemic, and announced plans last week to hire 300,000 more workers. “Over the last 72 hours, more groceries were sold on our platform than ever before,” a spokesperson told the LA Times on Monday.
The striking workers form the core of the “essential” workforce – grocery stores and delivery services are some of the few businesses allowed to stay open with most of the US under various forms of lockdown. If they walk off the job, the system grinds to a halt. Amazon may have fired one strike leader, but it can’t fire them all.
Source and Image: https://www.rt.com/usa/484606-whole-foods-strike-instacart-amazon/