Hundreds of Amazon workers protesting coronavirus conditions to skip work: workers rights group

Several groups are encouraging Amazon employees to skip work this week

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More than 300 Amazon workers will protest the company's response to coronavirus risks by skipping work on Tuesday and beyond, according to workers rights group United for Respect.

"Amazon’s corporate management has consistently responded with delay tactics and incoherent plans that do not rise to the urgency of the pandemic. The company has touted a series of new health and safety policies whose implementation has been questioned repeatedly by workers on the ground," United for Respect said in a statement.

AMAZON NOW ACCEPTING FOOD STAMP BENEFITS

Workers won't be picketing but will be posting videos on social media instead, United for Respect told FOX Business. The group says workers at more than 130 Amazon warehouses have tested positive for the virus. The company has hundreds of thousands of employees in the U.S.

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United for Respect is circulating a petition demanding Amazon "immediately close down and sanitize workplaces with associates who test positive for coronavirus" and "pay time-and-a-half during the crisis," among other demands.

A spokesperson for Amazon called United for Respect's accusations "unfounded."

Amazon workers at Amazon's Staten Island warehouse strike in demand that the facility be shut down and cleaned after one staffer tested positive for the coronavirus on March 30, 2020 in New York. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

"Nothing is more important than the safety of our teams. Our employees are heroes fighting for their communities and helping people get critical items they need in this crisis," the spokesperson said. 'We encourage anyone interested in the facts to compare our overall pay and benefits, as well as our speed in managing this crisis, to other retailers and major employers across the country."

Anti-Amazon coalition Athena, which received seed funding from billionaire George Soros' Open Society Foundations when it launched in 2019, is working with United for Respect on Tuesday's "call out."

The groups' criticism of Amazon comes as demand for the company's online grocery delivery has spiked since most Americans are under shelter-in-place orders due to the pandemic.

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Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) is planning a so-called sick out on Friday. Fired Amazon warehouse worker Chris Smalls told FOX Business he supports this United for Respect and AECJ's actions this week and is planning an "international walkout" on May 1.

Smalls was fired in March after staging a small walkout over conditions at a Staten Island warehouse. An Amazon spokesperson said Smalls was terminated for repeatedly "violating social distancing guidelines and putting the safety of others at risk."

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