While the Corona pandemic has already killed thousands of people and will kill many more, Amazon warehouses continue to operate 24/7. Governments around the world order social distancing, but at the same time they force workers to continue to work. Amazon packages flow through cities that, due to the high spread of the virus, have been sealed off from the rest of the world. In countries where the public is prohibited from gathering, Amazon is allowed to operate as a “state within the state”, free to endanger and exploit us, while we continue to work by the thousands in enclosed spaces. Subcontracted truck drivers and couriers – the veins of our global economy – move the virus between warehouses. Uncountable totes pass between worker hands and facilities. In effect, Amazon forces workers to risk infecting each other and then bringing the virus home to our families, allowing for its further spread.
This crisis has heavily affected all workers (not just us at Amazon). Some workers like nurses or supermarket workers don’t even get proper protective gear! The states of emergency supposedly meant to contain the pandemic are also an attempt to criminalize even the smallest protests and pickets. These policies give the government tools to silence workers, who see that Amazon’s irresponsible policies are facilitating the spread of the virus. But even if Amazon forces us to continue working in close proximity, at an ever-increasing tempo of work and often without healthcare protections, last week thousands of us organized in protest. We protested against the company’s attempt to profit from this crisis while putting our health at risk. We protested in Poland and in Spain, we went on strike in Italy, in France and in New York. We showed that it is possible everywhere to fight for our health and our lives and that we won’t stop. Amazon should also know that a wage raise, different from one country to another as if our lives had different prices according to their nationality, will not be enough to buy our health and safety.
We, Amazon workers from across the world, will not remain silent while our bosses’ greed and governments’ cowardice endangers us all. We call on workers everywhere to stay safe and practice social distancing, but, at the same time, to organize, protest, and be prepared to fight back!
- The immediate closure of Amazon warehouses until this coronavirus pandemic is declared over by the World Health Organization. During this shutdown, Amazon must pay all workers their full salary.
- That Amazon give $20 Billion to the public health systems of countries where Amazon has operations.
- Until Amazon closes down its warehouses, the company must provide paid sick leave for all workers who are sick, in quarantine, need to care for loved ones, or who need to care of children due to school closures.
- Until Amazon closes its warehouses, Amazon workers must receive hazard pay.
- Until Amazon closes its warehouses, there must be no write-ups or firings related to Rates or Time Off Task so that workers may prioritize safety over productivity in these hazardous workplace conditions.
- Until Amazon closes its warehouses, the company must reduce working time at its warehouses, without reducing wages. Workers need more paid time off to allow us to fulfill our basic needs and to deal with the impact of Corona on our lives.
March 22, 2020, Amazon Workers International