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Amazon Asked by States to Produce Data on Worker Safety, Deaths

May 12, 2020, 5:56 PM

Amazon.com Inc. is being asked by several U.S. states to provide information about health and safety measures following the death of a number of workers from coronavirus-related illnesses.

Led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, 13 states on Tuesday sent a letter to the company expressing concern about recent media reports of “inadequate safety measures and sick leave policies, insufficient data about infections and deaths among their workers, and retaliation against workers who call attention to unsafe workplace conditions.”

The states ask Amazon and its Whole Foods subsidiary to provide details of health and safety measures they have adopted, compliance with state paid sick leave laws and data about worker infections and deaths. The same states sent a letter to Amazon in March urging it to improve its sick leave policies.

While the company hasn’t disclosed how many workers have tested positive for Covid-19, news outlets have reported at least seven coronavirus deaths of Amazon employees, including workers in its warehouses and at Whole Foods stores.

“Amazon and Whole Foods must take every possible step to protect their employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Healey said in a statement. “We again call on these companies to provide assurances that they are complying with state laws and federal guidance aimed at keeping essential workers safe during this crisis.”

Amazon is hiring 175,000 workers to keep up with booming demand from shoppers forced online by stay-at-home orders. At the same time, employees have staged demonstrations over allegedly unsafe working conditions at the company’s facilities. The company has said it is checking employee temperatures at the beginning of shifts, cleaning facilities, increasing space between workers and taking other safety measures.

Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos last month said the company would spend $4 billion on logistics during the outbreak, including to keep workers safe.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Chris Dolmetsch in Federal Court in Manhattan at cdolmetsch@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net

Anthony Lin

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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