Well being officers in south-eastern Wisconsin have warned Amazon that in the event that they don’t totally cooperate with state testing and tracing efforts, its Kenosha campus situated 40 miles south of Milwaukee could be shut down. The announcement comes as at the least 20 employees have examined optimistic for the coronavirus at two amenities.
“To this point, the Kenosha County Division of Well being has struggled to obtain coordinated cooperation from Amazon relating to the dealing with of Covid-19 circumstances,” Jen Freiheit, a well being officer with Kenosha County, told the Kenosha News on Thursday.
Whereas the tech large acknowledged 20 confirmed circumstances, an impartial evaluation of worker communications by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discovered that at the least 32 workers at the Amazon H1 and H5 amenities have contracted the virus previously two months.
The Kenosha campus is the place the tech large’s first worker an infection was confirmed on 16 March. Amazon has not launched the variety of optimistic circumstances at its amenities nationwide, nonetheless. Officers with the Kenosha county well being division say that Amazon will not be totally cooperating with public well being employees attempting to trace the unfold.
“We’re on the level now that since we’re not getting [cooperation], we’re going to look into what different measures we are able to take for Amazon, as a result of we aren’t getting as far with compliance as we want,” Freiheit instructed the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
A Guardian evaluation of a public Fb group discovered workers at each amenities offered private updates on their check outcomes to alert colleagues, and sometimes vented about obstacles to getting well being info from Amazon, together with updates on security precautions the corporate announced it would implement.
“Amazon will not be forthcoming,” one consumer wrote. “Why would they not need to assist isolate the circumstances? [They] additionally gained’t let well being [department] within the buildings. What have they got to cover”?
Earlier this month employees organized protests and walkouts after Amazon ended its limitless unpaid time without work coverage for employees on the finish of April. The CEO, Jeff Bezos, and different firm executives have come under fire for what critics have known as makes an attempt to smear and silence workers who spoken out.
At the least 5 employees have claimed to have been fired by the corporate in retaliation for drawing consideration to security circumstances at their former amenities, together with two in Manhattan, one in Staten Island, a worker in Indiana and one in Oregon.
Workers have additionally come to Amazon’s defense, nonetheless, together with within the Fb group. Beneath discussions concerning the tech large’s cooperation with county well being officers, some famous that when making an attempt preliminary contact, the well being division contacted the mistaken particular person, and it was, in reality, Amazon’s representatives who made the right contact.
“The well being division shall be coming to conduct an inspection and administer the Covid-19 assessments for all workers,” a employee contended. “Nobody was hiding something, it was only a matter of getting the communication began.”
Amazon has introduced that testing for the coronavirus shall be made accessible to campus workers. In a statement to the Kenosha News, an Amazon spokeswoman, Jen Crowcroft, confirmed the corporate invitations county well being officers “to see the investments” made in security, “together with enhanced every day cleansing, temperature checks, necessary masks, and social distancing measures”.
“As well as, we’ve began our first Covid-19 testing pilot at a handful of web sites, and plan to make this accessible to workers at [two Kenosha facilities] quickly,” she stated.
The Guardian has contacted Amazon for remark.
— to www.theguardian.com