BEIJING, April 9 (UPI) — Five Democratic U.S. lawmakers sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Wednesday expressing concern about the company’s firing of employees who led a warehouse strike during the new crown outbreak,media reported. Before that, Amazon had faced public skepticism over the matter.
This comes as the company works to update its security policy, keep warehouses open, and distribute vital living materials to consumers who can’t go out and shop.
Amazon employee Christian Smalls went to the Stanton Island warehouse in New York on March 30 to attend a small protest he helped organize, one of their demands to close the warehouse. As a colleague at the warehouse was diagnosed with new coronary pneumonia, employees were worried about infection. Amazon has more than 50 new cases of coronary pneumonia in warehouses.
The virus has now infected more than 1.4 million people worldwide.
Amazon said it fired Smouth because he had violated quarantine policies after coming into contact with patients with new coronary pneumonia. The mayor of New York announced an investigation into the matter, and the state’s attorney general has asked the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate.
The letter, led by U.S. Senator Cory Brooker, cited media reports that Amazon may have ordered it for two weeks after Smouth “started organizing colleagues and called for greater workplace transparency and protection.” Based on the potential exposure date of March 11, the quarantine period should have ended five days before the protest.
“The power to organize gatherings is the cornerstone of our economic development, and many of the great advances made by generations of workers depend on it. The letter said.
Amazon has said it fired Smouth because he put the safety of others at risk. They also specifically said Amazon respects employees’ right to choose unions. Amazon says it has taken “strict” measures to keep its employees safe while delivering supplies to American families, the vast majority of which are now in isolation at home. In addition to warehouse cleaning and disinfection, Amazon conducts temperature tests on employees, implements social distance policies, and issues masks in all warehouses in the United States and Europe.
But previously leaked Amazon executive meeting documents have been extremely bad for Amazon. Amazon’s general counsel described Symouth in the record as “unintelligent and ill-spoken.”
He later issued a statement saying that the health crisis in Smouth had been frustrating and had affected his judgment.
Other signatories to the letter also referred to the leaked minutes of the meeting.