Last month, an internal Amazon memo showed that an Amazon warehouse in Minnesota had more than four times the rate of new coronavirus infections in surrounding communities, according to media reports.
In recent weeks, Amazon executives and spokespeople have said that its U.S. warehouses are performing no worse than neighboring communities, and sometimes even better. Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of global operations, said in an interview last month: ” The rate of neo-coronavirus infection among Amazon warehouse workers is slightly lower than the actual rate of infection in the community.”
So far, Amazon has declined to release how many workers have been infected with the new coronavirus, with Amazon giving the reasoning that such a statistic is meaningless without considering the specifics.
It’s unclear whether the infection rate at other Amazon warehouses also exceeds the community infection rate. This internal memo shows that as of mid-May, Amazon’s Shakopee, Minn. Forty-five cases were found at the MSP1 plant, enough to bring the infection rate to 1.7 percent.
That number is higher than the rural counties surrounding the warehouse, roughly the size of nearby Minneapolis-St. Petersburg ( (Minneapolis-St. Paul) four times the rate in any one county. At the time, Hennepin County, where Minneapolis is located, reported an infection rate of 0.4 percent.
The memo did not specify whether Amazon executives believed employees were infected with the messenger virus on the job. In response, Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman said in an emailed statement : “Nothing is more important than the safety of our team.”
Like other tech companies, Amazon took a number of steps after the outbreak of the new coronavirus. But workers complained that Amazon didn’t notify employees immediately after they were diagnosed with the virus.
As a result, workers were left to compile their own statistics to determine the prevalence of the virus in their warehouses. Jana Jumpp, an Amazon warehouse worker in Indiana, has been collecting relevant data according to her5 In mid-month, it said that at least 800 Amazon warehouse workers had been diagnosed with the new coronavirus.
Last night, Amazon announced that it would pay a one-time bonus of $500 (per person) to most of its frontline employees this month for their work at ensured the continued operation of the company’s e-commerce business during the new coronavirus outbreak. These awards will cost the company approximately $500 million.