retail news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The New York Times this morning reports that "a group of 13 U.S. attorneys general on Tuesday asked Inc to provide data on coronavirus-related deaths and infections among its workforce, along with evidence of the company's compliance with paid sick leave laws."  The story says they also "asked for assurance that Amazon would not retaliate against workers who raise concerns about health and safety issues with management, the media, co-workers or relevant government agencies."

In a letter, the Times writes, "the officials asked for a state-by-state breakdown of the number of Amazon workers, including those at Whole Foods, who have been infected or died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

"The letter, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, was joined by states including Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington."

•  Reuters reports that Amazon is urging the US Congress to pass laws that would prohibit price gouging during pandemics or other times of national emergency.

Brian Huseman, VP of public policy at Amazon, said in a blog posting that while there are state laws against gouging, there is no national standard, which makes it difficult to enforce private policies on a national basis.

Amazon has been criticized for not moving quickly enough to deal with third-party vendors on its marketplace that were gouging for high-demand items during the pandemic.