After reports of an Amazon worker at the Kent Fulfillment Center testing positive for COVID-19, The MLK County Working Families Party sent a letter Friday to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asking for increased protections for workers.
“As this pandemic moves across the nation, it is urgent that corporations like Amazon step up and protect their workers,” said Cliff Cawthon, MLK County Working Families Party Board member, in a news release. “We live in and around Kent and close to the Kent Fulfillment Center, where it is reported that a worker tested positive for COVID-19.”
“By not instituting stronger protections for its workers, Amazon is putting our communities in danger,” Cawthon said. “We are asking that Amazon institute sanitizing the Kent facility for two weeks, full pay for workers for those two weeks and testing for all workers. By not taking stronger steps for all its workers across the nation, Amazon is putting its workers and our communities at risk.”
The demands include paid sick leave for all workers, regardless of coronavirus diagnosis; hazard pay at 1.5 times the hourly rate during the crisis; childcare pay due to school and childcare facility closures; the immediate closure of workplaces for at least two weeks – including the Kent Fulfillment Center – for sanitizing.
Amazon officials told the Kent Reporter in a March 30 email that they “are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site” after an employee at the Kent Fulfillment Center tested positive last week for COVID-19.
“We are supporting the individual who is recovering,” according to an email from Amazon. “We are following guidelines from health officials and medical experts, and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site.”
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment Friday about the letter to Bezos from the MLK County Working Families Party.
Amazon opened the Kent facility, 20526 59th Pl. S., in 2016 on property formerly owned by Boeing.