Amazon: Accusations of not practicing coronavirus safety protocols 'unfounded'

Worker fired after staging protest

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Accusations that Amazon is "not practicing" coronavirus safety protocols are "unfounded," the company said.

The tech giant's statement came after New York lawmakers sent a letter to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Wednesday accusing the company of not enforcing proper COVID-19 protocols and condemning its decision to fire a stock worker who staged a walkout in protest of Amazon's virus response.

"These accusations are simply unfounded," Amazon spokesperson John Tagle told FOX Business in a statement. "Nothing is more important than the safety of our teams."

A Whole Food employee sanitizes shopping charts amid coronavirus concerns before they are used by waiting patrons outside the 365 Whole Foods Market in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, Tuesday, March 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Tagle added that Amazon has "implemented a broad suite of new benefits changes for employees in our operations and logistics network throughout this unprecedented pandemic" including an additional $2 for hourly pay, double overtime pay and two weeks of paid time-off for employees who self-quarantine.

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The New York lawmakers' letter said Amazon did "NOT promptly address the concerns being articulated" by its own workers and called for the "swift" rehiring of the fired worker, Chris Smalls.

They also called for increased efforts to make sure Amazon warehouses are following proper safety protocols and employee benefits, including monitoring warehouses, canceling rate and productivity requirements, covering childcare expenses and providing retroactive pay.

A number of workers at Amazon warehouse facilities across the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19, and some are worried that Amazon hasn't enforced enough safety rules to make sure other employees don't contract the disease, which is why workers are staging walk-outs.

Gerald Bryson, left, join workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, N.Y., protesting conditions in the company's warehouse, Monday, March 30, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

"Since the early days of this situation, we have worked closely with health authorities to proactively respond, ensuring we continue to serve customers while taking care of our associates and teams," Tagle said in his statement.

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Amazon has also implemented a number of new safety and cleaning measures at its facilities, he added.

David Clark, Amazon's senior vice president of worldwide operations, on Wednesday afternoon announced that the company would be enacting four new safety measures as employees across the country protested over concerns that the e-commerce giant is not enforcing proper precautions.

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Clark's announcement laying out four new safety measures includes requiring workers to have their temperatures checked as soon as they come into work, delivering millions of masks to workers as soon as Thursday and to all workers by next week, performing daily audits of its new health measures and continuing to financially invest in workers.

Those measures come on top of more than "150 significant process changes" Amazon has made "to ensure the health and safety" of its workers, Clark said.

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This article contains material from a previous FOX Business post.