retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Washington Post this morning reports that workers in at least 10 Amazon warehouses - two in New York City; Shepherdsville, Kentucky.; Jacksonville, Florida; Katy, Texas.; Brownstown, Michigan.; Oklahoma City; Moreno Valley, California; Joliet, Illinois; and Wallingford, Connecticut - have been infected by the Covid-19 coronavirus.

"In some cases, Amazon shut down facilities for cleaning, and some co-workers who were in close contact with their infected colleagues have been quarantined," the story says.

The Post writes that "just last week, warehouse workers sounded alarms that the company is not doing enough to protect them from the virus. That came after workers at Amazon warehouses in Spain and Italy tested positive for the virus. Since then, more than 1,500 workers from around the world have signed a petition that calls on the company to take additional steps to ensure safety in the workplace.

"Some workers complained that Amazon pushes them to meet the per-hour rate at which it wants orders fulfilled, a practice that they worry discourages safe sanitary practices such as washing hands after a cough or sneeze. Others have complained about 'stand-up' meetings, where workers stand shoulder-to-shoulder at the start of each shift."

Amazon has said that it wants to hire some 100,000 people to help it meet rising demand in the time of the coronavirus.

“We are supporting the individuals, following guidelines from local officials, and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of all the employees at our sites,” said Amazon spokeswoman Lisa Levandowski.

The Post writes that "the company has recently adopted new policies for its warehouses including more regularly cleaning door handles, stairway handrails, touch screens and more, Levandowski said. It’s nixed stand-up meetings, staggered start and break times to aid social distancing and suspended screening workers as they leave to improve the flow of workers, she said."

KC's View:

Here's my question.

Keeping some of these facilities open may justifiably create some outrage … but would the outrage be even greater from consumers hungry for next-day deliveries if any of those warehouses were to be closed, even temporarily?

I know what I think.  Shame on us for being so addicted to the crack that Amazon has so effectively peddled us.  (Gotta go now.  I just remembered something I need to order from Prime…)