Major unions call for closure of all Amazon warehouses – experts say it would be disastrous

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Confrontation this week between Amazon and its US warehouse workers over the health risks of the coronavirus epidemic on Wednesday when leaders of some of the country’s largest unions sent a letter to Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos called the company to temporarily close all facilities until it meets the danger of infection. “Data-reactid =” 16 “> A confrontation this week between Amazon and its US warehouse workers over the health risks posed by the coronavirus epidemic has increased dramatically. On Wednesday, when leaders of some of the country’s largest unions sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, calling on the company to temporarily close all facilities until it responds to the dangers of ‘infection.

A nationwide shutdown would crush the business, crippling its distribution network amid a spike in demand for Amazon’s delivery service when hundreds of millions of people were forced to return home, explained several logistics experts and Wall Street analyst to Yahoo Finance. Yet experts agreed that the company will likely have to find common ground with the workers.

Dale Rogers, professor of logistics and supply chain management at Arizona State University, called the potential generalized warehouse closings “disastrous,” noting that even if the closings were temporary, it would be difficult for l to quickly reopen large facilities.

“People think you can turn something off and on, and it works the same way – but it doesn’t,” adds Rogers. “Right now, we are asking them to deliver a lot more to meet more demand. “

Closing the warehouses would cause “physical disruption” for Amazon, which would pose “major logistical problems,” said Dan Ives, equity analyst at Wedbush, specializing in technology companies. “This would obviously be a clear concern for investors in terms of e-commerce. “

where an employee tested positive for coronavirus last week – went out during a change of fear of infection, and the dispute deepened when, later that day, the company fired one of participating workers, Chris Smalls, for allegedly violating social distancing guidelines. Smalls, union leaders, The New York Attorney General, and elected officials like the democratic representative of New York. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez publicly criticized the company’s conduct against him. “Data-reactid =” 21 “> On Monday, workers at a Staten Island warehouse – where an employee tested positive for coronavirus last week – left for an infection fears shift and the the dispute deepened when, later that day, the company fired one of the participating workers, Chris Smalls, for allegedly violating the social distancing guidelines. Smalls, union leaders, New York Attorney General and elected officials like the democratic representative of New York. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez publicly criticized the company’s conduct towards him.

Two days later, leaders of some of the country’s largest labor organizations, including the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of Teachers – which have tens of millions of members together – called l company for the reintegration of Smalls. and the temporary closure of all US warehouses and full workers’ compensation until it addresses their health concerns.

“We are writing to you today shocked by reports that Amazon warehouses do not practice the protocols necessary to protect the well-being of your workers and the public,” said a letter signed by union leaders and addressed to Jeff Bezos as well. than other Amazon executives.

improved cleaning carried out by the company in certain warehouses & nbsp; and & nbsp; paid sick leave made available & nbsp; for all employees diagnosed with a coronavirus, among other measures taken to combat health risks. “Data-reactid =” 24 “> The letter questions the veracity of Amazon’s public statements about the measures it has taken to resolve security concerns at its facilities, which include improved cleanups that the company has carried out in certain warehouses and paid sick leave which it has made available to all employees diagnosed with a coronavirus, among other measures taken to combat health risks.

Amazon workers at Amazon’s warehouse on Staten Island are requesting that the facilities be closed and cleaned up after an employee tested positive for Coronavirus on March 30, 2020 in New York City. – Amazon workers at a New York warehouse leave work on March 30, 2020, as an increasing number of delivery people and contractors demand better wages and protections amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP via Getty Images)

Alexis Keenan of Yahoo Finance reported. (James did not sign the letter.) “Data-reactid =” 36 “> The letter is also signed by dozens of elected officials in New York, where Attorney General Letitia James is considering legal options to punish Amazon for the dismissal apparently in retaliation for Smalls, reported Alexis Keenan of Yahoo Finance (James did not sign the letter).

Amazon warehouses nationwide in recent weeks have accused the company & nbsp; to have inadequate security measures and insufficient paid sick leave. In at least ten 10 different Amazon installations, employees & nbsp; have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Washington Post reported. The company has more than 110 distribution centers in North America, & nbsp; according to its website. “Data-reactid =” 37 “> Amazon warehouse workers nationwide in recent weeks have accused the company of inadequate security measures and insufficient paid sick leave. Employees in at least ten different Amazon facilities have tested positive for the coronavirus, reports the Washington Post. According to its website, the company has more than 110 distribution centers in North America.

Responding to the letter, Amazon spokeswoman Kristen Kish said, “These accusations are simply unfounded. Nothing is more important than the safety of our teams. “

“We encourage those who are not well to stay at home and take extreme measures to keep people safe in our buildings,” she adds. “From the first days of this situation, we worked closely with the health authorities to respond proactively, making sure to continue to serve customers while taking care of our associates and our teams.”

Reuters reported on Thursday. “Data-reactid =” 44 “> Amazon plans to implement temperature controls and provide protective masks to employees at all of its facilities in the United States and Europe by next week, Reuters reported Thursday .

Closing all of Amazon’s warehouses in the United States would be “a huge disruption,” said Yossi Sheffi, a professor at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics.

Noting the dependence of many Americans on Amazon for food and medical supplies, Sheffi said it was highly unlikely that such a closure would take place.

“It’s not going to happen,” he said.

Both Rogers and Ives shared this sentiment, saying that a generalized warehouse closure would not happen, as it would harm society and consumers.

But the company will likely have to compromise with workers to keep them safe at work, experts said.

“This is clearly a balance for Amazon,” says Ives. “They will have to find common ground. “



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