Workers from large companies such as Amazon, Instacart and Whole Foods are planning a walk-out strike for May 1, according to a report from The Intercept, noting that participating employees will call in sick or walk off during their lunch break.
A flyer for the “May Day General Strike” was shared by Christian Smalls on Twitter. “Protect all workers at all cost we are not expandable or replaceable enough is enough TAKE THE POWER BACK!” Smalls wrote in his tweet.
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News of gig workers striking and protesting due to workplace conditions and complaints over lack of necessary protective equipment have been common amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shoppers for Instacart had previously striked in March, and Amazon employees across the country had gone on strike with complaints that the company had not done enough to protect its employees amid the pandemic.
But the May 1 strike appears to be the first coalition of workers across several major companies. Those included are Amazon, Instacart, Whole Foods, Walmart, Target and FedEx, according to the Intercept.
States are starting and continuing to ease their lockdown restrictions in hopes of boosting local economies and returning to a sense of normalcy. Public health officials, however, have advised against reopening areas and communities too soon.
Even in states or areas that have not eased lockdown restrictions, workers at companies such as Amazon and Target are often deemed essential workers and can be in a position where they face a higher risk of exposure to the virus.
As of April 28, more than 1 million people had tested positive for COVID-19, based on data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Read the full statement from Amazon here:
“While we respect people’s right to express themselves, we object to the irresponsible actions of labor groups in spreading misinformation and making false claims about Amazon during this unprecedented health and economic crisis. The statements made are not supported by facts or representative of the majority of the 500,000 Amazon operations employees in the U.S. who are showing up to work to support their communities. What’s true is that masks, temperature checks, hand sanitizer, increased time off, increased pay, and more are standard across our Amazon and Whole Food Market networks already. Our employees are doing incredible work for their communities every day, and we have invested heavily in their health and safety through increased safety measures and the procurement of millions of safety supplies and have invested nearly $700 million in increased pay. Working globally with our teams and third parties we have gone to extreme measures to understand and address this pandemic with more than 150 process changes to-date. We spend every day focused on what else Amazon can do to keep our people and communities safe and healthy.”