SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – On Tuesday, employees at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Salt Lake City were notified that a second worker had tested positive for COVID-19.
According to an internal message obtained by ABC4, Amazon told its employees the worker is currently in isolation and won’t return to work until meeting CDC guidelines on recovering safely. In that same message, Amazon tells employees that the company is offering unlimited unpaid time off as this crisis continues.
One employee, who asked to remain anonymous, told ABC4 that when he was last at work a couple of weeks ago he had major concerns about getting COVID-19. He asked for wipes, and sanitizer, and says his supervisor told him they were all out.
“The last time I went into work, the station I went to was physically dirty. And I’m like, well — that’s when I found out they were out and that’s when I haven’t gone back since,” said the employee.
“I have some family that is extremely high risk, that I’m assisting in taking care of,” he said.
“And, with two cases in a building that I would go into every day. It’s like, okay, it’s better safe than sorry and lose the money and take care of my family,” added the employee.
And yet he acknowledges Amazon is doing almost everything right — taking temperatures as employees walk in, routinely cleaning the facility, even offering the unlimited time off. Still, he says, there is a low-level anxiety among workers, especially after the second confirmed case.
“Nervous, anxious. We’re all grateful that we have a job, but are they doing everything that they say they’re doing? And are we truly okay?” he said.
In a statement to ABC4, Amazon spokesman Timothy Carter wrote:
“We are supporting the individuals who are recovering. We are following guidelines from health officials and medical experts, and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site. Our employees are heroes fighting for their communities and helping people get critical items they need in this crisis—we have nearly 500,000 people in the U.S. alone supporting customers and we are taking measures to support each one. We’ve implemented a broad suite of new benefits changes for employees in our operations and logistics network including an additional $2 per hour, double time for overtime, and paid time off benefits for regular part-time and seasonal employees. We are encouraging those who are unwell to stay home and taking extreme measures to keep people safe in our buildings. And, 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. We have also implemented proactive measures at our facilities to protect employees including increased cleaning at all facilities, maintaining social distance in the FC, and adding distance between drivers and customers when making deliveries.”