Amazon workers stage walkout in Chicago after employee tests positive for coronavirus

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Amazon workers at a warehouse on Chicago's Southwest Side are walking off the job after one of their colleagues tested positive for COVID-19.

Workers held a walkout Friday to demand that the warehouse be closed immediately for two weeks for sanitation. They're calling on Amazon to do more than "the minor spot-cleanings currently limited to avoid shift interruption," according to labor unions representing the workers.

Employees learned that the warehouse had its first confirmed coronavirus case last week.

"Current efforts are not effective in disinfecting the entire facility and do not guarantee a safe and healthy work environment for the critical employees working at the warehouse," union officials said.

They're also calling for other safety measures and paid medical leave.

An Amazon spokesman released a statement Friday, saying the company has "taken extreme measures to keep people safe, tripling down on deep cleaning, procuring safety supplies that are available and changing processes to ensure those in our buildings are keeping safe distances."

Read the full statement here:

"Our employees are heroes fighting for their communities and helping people get critical items they need in this crisis. Like all businesses grappling with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we are working hard to keep employees safe while serving communities and the most vulnerable. We have taken extreme measures to keep people safe, tripling down on deep cleaning, procuring safety supplies that are available and changing processes to ensure those in our buildings are keeping safe distances.

We are committed to protecting our employees through our preventative health measures, enhanced cleaning and sanitation, and a broad suite of new benefits, including extended paid leave options for fulltime employees, additional $2 per hour, double time for overtime, and paid time off (PTO) benefits for regular part-time and seasonal employees. We enforce strict 6' social distancing on our property and throughout our facilities. We also communicate when a COVID-19 case is confirmed in one of our buildings to all individuals who work at that site -not just to those who've come in close contact with the diagnosed individual. You can read even more here."
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