A coalition of four labor unions claimed that Amazon put workers at risk by not reporting the number of COVID 19 cases in its facilities last year to the Department of Labor.
The Strategic Organizing Center SOC released a report claiming that it reviewed data Amazon sent to the OSHA in 2020 and found that it systematically failed to record COVID 19 cases in its warehouses, recording only 27 work-related illnesses. The coalition cited Amazon's October 2020 report in which the company acknowledged that 19,816 front-line Amazon and Whole Foods Market employees have been presumed positive for COVID - 19.
Amazon claimed to OSHA that almost none of the tens of thousands of COVID 19 infections among its workers were work related, the SOC said.
The SOC argued that in doing so, the nation's second largest private employer, put workers at risk by depriving OSHA of information about COVID 19 cases in its facilities, undermining the agency's ability to identify workplace hazards and to hold the company accountable for unsafe conditions. The coalition has issued a letter to Assistant Labor Secretary Douglas Parker, requesting Amazon be investigated for its disturbing pattern of misleading or grossly incomplete information regarding COVID cases in its warehouses.
Amazon told FOX Business that the SOC's claims are intentionally misleading to paint a false picture. OSHA acknowledged that it was difficult to determine if a COVID case was caused by exposure in the workplace or in the community. OSHA has provided employers with guidance on when to record cases as workplace related exposure, and we have worked to follow this guidance throughout the epidemic. Amazon argued that the company regularly communicated with employees and local health authorities.
Nantel said that while we know we aren't perfect, we are working hard every day to listen to the experts and keep our teams and communities safe.
She noted that the company has incurred more than $15 billion for coronaviruses related protocols like contact tracing, on-site vaccine clinics and testing, as well as hundreds of process changes and health measures.