- New York Attorney General Letitia James claimed on Tuesday that Amazon has scaled back its coronavirus safety protocols in at least one of its warehouses.
- James sued Amazon in February, alleging it had failed to adequately protect workers from the coronavirus.
- On Tuesday, Amazon as part of its lawsuit urged a judge to appoint a monitor to oversee worker safety at its facility on Staten Island.
New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking An emergency court order to force Amazon to implement stricter COVID-19 protocols, arguing the company’s decision to roll back security measures in at least one of its warehouses puts employees at high risk of exposure to the coronavirus drop offs.
James sought a motion for relief on Tuesday as part of a lawsuit filed earlier this year that claims the online retail giant prioritized benefits over worker safety at its New York facilities and to protect their safety during the pandemic. Retaliated against the employees who expressed concern for the same.
As part of the proposal, James urged the court to appoint a monitor to oversee the safety of workers at Amazon’s New York facilities. James is also calling for a court order that would require Amazon to re-hire Chris Smalls, an employee who was fired last March after speaking out about working conditions.
“The state now seeks preliminary injunction relief as Amazon is rolling back its already inadequate public health measures and acting as if the pandemic is over when the risk of virus transmission is increasing, and a new version of transmission, threatens to cause high rates of disease, and death,” the proposal states.
According to the filing, “While case rates, hospitalizations, and deaths rise, Amazon cancels protections and packs in more workers for its holiday rush.”
Amazon representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In October, a federal judge rejected Amazon’s bid to jump suit.
Amazon and other major corporations have continually revised safety protocols with front-line workers as the coronavirus pandemic spreads. During the summer, several companies relaxed safety measures, such as a decline in cases and mandatory mask-wearing when vaccines were available, only to reinstate some policies later as the highly contagious delta variant spread.
In recent weeks, public health officials have issued warnings about the new COVID variant omicron, a heavily mutated strain of the coronavirus that was first detected in South Africa two weeks ago. The emergence of the variant shocked global markets and led to new travel restrictions in some countries.
According to the motion, Amazon began rolling back coronavirus safeguards over the summer.
According to the filing, Amazon notified employees on July 7 that it was returning to a number of pre-pandemic practices. As a result, the company has abandoned some of the coronavirus safety measures established at the start of the pandemic, such as temperature checks, enforcing social distancing and staggered shift and break times.
Other measures to prevent overcrowding, such as limiting capacity in break rooms and closing so-called “stand-up” meetings at the beginning of shifts, have since been called off, the filing states.
James’s office cited the affidavits of two Amazon warehouse workers on Staten Island, Derrick Palmer and Tristian Martinez, easing COVID safety measures, and a revised photo of a stand-up gathering at the Staten Island facility, known as JFK8. Known in
According to Palmer’s affidavit, “Amazon does not have a mandate that all workers be vaccinated.” “I come into contact with hundreds of other workers at JFK8 every day, and I don’t know who has been vaccinated and who hasn’t.”
Amazon notified employees on July 30 that it was ending its onsite COVID-19 testing program, Palmer’s affidavit said.
Amazon’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been criticized by warehouse workers, politicians and the state attorney general. They argue that Amazon moved too slowly in its efforts to provide personal protective equipment, temperature checks and other equipment to keep employees safe. The company and its founder Jeff Bezos have backed away from allegations that Amazon is gone “great lengths” To protect workers from coronavirus.
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