Bezos tells shareholders that Amazon is preparing to test all employees

Jeff Bezos tells shareholders that Amazon is preparing to build a lab with hopes of testing ALL employees for coronavirus amid protests from warehouse workers over ‘health and safety concerns during the pandemic’

  • Bezos said that Amazon is in the process of building a lab for coronvirus testing  
  • The goal is to start testing small numbers of company’s frontline workers soon 
  • His letter to shareholders comes at a time when Amazon has faced scrutiny over safety and working conditions of warehouse, delivery and retail gig workers 
  • Workers across US have protested ‘unsafe working conditions’ in multiple states
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

By Valerie Edwards For Dailymail.com

Published: | Updated:

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos informed shareholders on Thursday that the company is preparing to test all of its employees for the coronavirus amid warehouse worker protest

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos informed shareholders on Thursday that the company is preparing to test all of its employees for the coronavirus amid warehouse workers protesting over health and safety concerns during the pandemic. 

Bezos explained that the company is in the process of building a lab where employees can receive testing. 

‘A next step in protecting our employees might be regular testing of all Amazonians, including those showing no symptoms. We’ve begun the work of building incremental testing capacity,’ Bezos wrote. 

‘A team of Amazonians—from research scientists and program managers to procurement specialists and software engineers—moved from their normal day jobs onto a dedicated team to work on this initiative. 

‘We have begun assembling the equipment we need to build our first lab and hope to start testing small numbers of our frontline employees soon. We are not sure how far we will get in the relevant timeframe, but we think it’s worth trying, and we stand ready to share anything we learn.’ 

The letter to shareholders comes at a time when the Seattle-based firm has been facing public scrutiny over safety and working conditions of warehouse, delivery and retail gig workers in the US after cases of COVID-19 were reported in some of its facilities. 

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The letter comes at a time when the Seattle-based firm has been facing public scrutiny over safety and working conditions of warehouse, delivery and retail gig workers in the US after cases of COVID-19 were reported in some of its facilities. Protesters in New York on March 30 

Workers across the US have protested at what they say are unsafe working conditions. 

Employees have staged walkouts in Staten Island, Minnesota, Chicago and Detroit.

Amazon has terminated at least three employees for raising health and safety concerns by staging protests outside the company’s facilities. 

Amazon told DailyMail.com it supported ‘every employee’s right to criticize their employer’s working conditions, but that does not come with blanket immunity against any and all internal policies.’

The world’s largest online retailer has been updating its safety protocols in a bid to keep warehouses functional and ship essential goods to shoppers who have been told by their governments to stay home to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

Bezos said some of those measure include ‘extensive social distancing’.

Workers in across the US have protested at what they say are unsafe working conditions. Employees have staged walkouts in Staten Island (pictured on March 30), Minnesota, Chicago and Detroit

Amazon recently hired 100,000 employees across their fulfillment and delivery network. Earlier this week, the company announced that it is looking to fill an addition 75,000 positions

‘We have eliminated stand-up meetings during shifts, moved information sharing to bulletin boards, staggered break times, and spread out chairs in breakrooms. 

Some elected officials have called on the company to close warehouses, but with unemployment rates hitting record levels, Amazon is looking to fill the gap.

Amazon recently hired 100,000 employees across their fulfillment and delivery network. 

Earlier this week, the company announced that it is looking to fill an addition 75,000 positions.

‘These new hires are helping customers who depend on us to meet their critical needs. We know that many people around the world have suffered financially as jobs are lost or furloughed,’ Bezos said. 

‘We are happy to have them on our teams until things return to normal and either their former employer can bring them back or new jobs become available.’

The billionaire also said that the company is ‘committed to helping support employees now’.

There are more than 677,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US with 34,846 deaths

In doing so, Amazon has increased its minimum wage through the end of April by $2 per hour in the US.

‘And we are paying associates double our regular rate for any overtime worked—a minimum of $34 an hour—an increase from time and a half. These wage increases will cost more than $500million, just through the end of April, and likely more than that over time,’ Bezos said. 

‘While we recognize this is expensive, we believe it’s the right thing to do under the circumstances. We also established the Amazon Relief Fund—with an initial $25million in funding—to support our independent delivery service partners and their drivers, Amazon Flex participants, and temporary employees under financial distress,’ he added.

Amazon’s headcount fluctuates seasonally, recently peaking for the holiday quarter at 798,000 full- and part-time workers, before it advertised the 100,000 jobs in March. 

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