A father of five has become the latest Amazon employee to have died of COVID-19 amid calls from his colleagues for better coronavirus security measures.
The unnamed employee, 50, worked the night shift as a picker at the online retail giant’s facility in Waukegan, Illinois. He died on April 18, leaving behind his wife, five children, and two stepchildren.
He becomes at least the fourth Amazon employee to die from the virus. The company won’t confirm the exact numbers, but deaths have been reported in Staten Island, New York and Hawthorne and Tracy, both in California.
The employee had last visited the facility on March 19 and tested positive for the virus five days later.
An employee told it CNBC they heard about death “through the vine.” Another said, “If somebody I know doesn’t show up one day, and because he got sick and died, aren’t we going to acknowledge that loss?”
Amazon says the nature of shift work may have meant that the death notice was not heard by all employees. They emphasize that they have given priority to worker safety, spent nearly $ 700 million on higher wages, and over 150 measures, such as providing masks and conducting temperature controls.
A spokesperson said, “We are saddened at the loss of an employee at our location in Waukegan, Illinois. His family and loved ones are in our minds and we support his colleagues. DailyMail.com has contacted Amazon for comment.
The unnamed employee, 50, worked the night shift as a picker at the online store giant’s factory in Waukegan, Illinois, in the photo. He died on April 18
Amazon has faced protests from warehouse workers who claim the company has not done enough to keep them safe. The Illinois becomes at least the fourth Amazon employee to die from the virus. The company won’t confirm the exact numbers, but deaths have been reported in Staten Island, New York and Hawthorne and Tracy, both in California
Amazon has become a lifeline for consumers facing lockdowns and restrictions worldwide, and the company is adding around 175,000 new employees to meet the rising demand.
But the company has also faced protests from warehouse workers and activists claiming that Amazon has not done enough to keep them safe.
An Amazon employee in a warehouse in Staten Island, New York – where employees called for more coronavirus security measures – died of COVID-19 after contracting the virus last month.
The company said the worker was last on the scene on April 5 and the virus was confirmed on April 11 for remaining in quarantine. Contact tracking did not provide a link to other employees.
More than a dozen protesters, including workers and activists, had protested outside the Staten Island warehouse last week.
In March, New York attorney general Letitia James called for an investigation after Amazon fired Chris Smalls for organizing a workers’ strike in the warehouse.
Smalls claimed that the company was not taking precautions to protect warehouse workers from COVID-19, saying that between 50 and 60 workers at the facility had contracted the disease.
Amazon said Smalls was fired after going to work after contracting a corona virus, in violation of quarantine regulations.
Amazon insists it has invested to protect personnel and says the infection rate at the Staten Island facility is significantly lower than the community rate.
The company says it believes that its employees in the Staten Island facility who tested positive were likely exposed at home or in the community, and that there was no evidence that they were connected through the workplace.
Former Amazon worker, Christian Smalls, stands with fellow protesters outside an Amazon warehouse on May 1, as the corona virus outbreak continues in the Staten Island neighborhood of New York
An employee told CNBC that they heard about the death “through the vine.” Another said, “If somebody I know doesn’t show up one day, and because he got sick and died, aren’t we going to acknowledge that loss?”
A post is painted by activists on the street outside one of the homes of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos during the outbreak of Washington’s Coronavirus disease on April 29
Amazon says it will spend $ 800 million in security measures in the first half of the year to protect its personnel from coronavirus.
But Monday, Amazon vice president Tim Bray said he had resigned in protest of the company firing three employees who speak out against warehouse treatment.
Engineer Tim Bray announced that he would be leaving the online retail giant after more than five years, citing the ‘vein of toxicity running through corporate culture’. He also slammed the tech giant’s actions as ‘chickens ** t’.
The VP at Amazon Web Services says at least six of his colleagues have been fired for speaking up; Courtney Bowden, Gerald Bryson, Maren Costa, Emily Cunningham, Bashir Mohammed and Chris Smalls.
In a blog post, Bray says the move “will probably cost me more than a million dollars (before taxes),” but adds, “Firing whistleblowers … is evidence of a corporate culture poisoning. I choose not to serve or drink that poison ‘
He added, “Warehouse workers are weak and weaker, with massive unemployment and (in the US) job-related health insurance.
“So they are treated as nonsense because capitalism. Any plausible solution must start by increasing their collective power. ‘
Tim Bray, in the photo, announced that he quit his job ‘with dismay’ at firing whistleblowers who raised concerns about unsafe working conditions in warehouses amid coronavirus
Designers Emily Cunningham, left, and Maren Costa, right, both critics of the online retail giant’s working conditions after the coronavirus pandemic, were fired from Amazon
The company warned last week that it could make a loss in the second quarter, as it held about $ 4 billion in costs related to the coronavirus pandemic.
For the quarter ending in March, Amazon revenues were up 26 percent from last year, to $ 75.45 billion, as the retail giant registered massive demand for essential goods online orders during the pandemic.
However, earnings fell 30 percent from the same period last year amid higher spending, with earnings per share of $ 5.01 missing Wall Street expectations of $ 6.25 per share.
Air Force veteran Gerard Tuzara became the first known Amazon warehouse worker to die of coronavirus on March 31
The ecommerce giant has spent a lot of money to keep up with the wave of online orders. Amazon had previously said it would hire about 175,000 workers and increase wages for hourly wage workers by $ 2, as well as overtime, which would increase costs by nearly $ 700 million.
“If you’re a shareholder in Amazon, you might want to take a seat because we don’t think small,” CEO Jeff Bezos said in a news release.
“Under normal circumstances, we expect operating profit of approximately $ 4 billion or more in the next second quarter,” continued Bezos.
“But these are not normal circumstances. Instead, we expect to spend all that $ 4 billion, and maybe a little more, on COVID-related expenses to get products to customers and protect employees. ‘
Air Force veteran Gerard Tuzara became the first known Amazon warehouse worker to die of the corona virus on March 31.
The 35-year-old worked as an operations manager at Amazon’s Hawthorne facility near LAX Airport in Southern California.
Tuzara’s last working day was March 6, after which he was on vacation in Mexico until March 20.
A week later, he started experiencing flu-like symptoms and was admitted to the Amazon hospital on Tuesday, confirmed on DailyMail.com.
One of Tuzara’s friends wrote a tribute posted in the warehouse where he worked.
“Gerry was an Air Force officer, a loving husband, son, and uncle,” the letter said. “He is missed enormously.”
Family members also posted their own moving tributes, including Tuzara’s sister, Jess.
“I refuse to believe you’re gone. Everything feels so unreal and I want to wake up to this. I feel so helpless that I can’t see, hold or talk to you again.
I’d like to give everything back to make you feel like we love you one last time. I’m sorry you didn’t leave with anyone, ”she wrote.