Amazon Puts Profits Over People By Eliminating On-Site Testing For Warehouse Workers on July 30
While WWJ has been gearing up to build worker protections, Amazon is rolling back on safety measures and putting everyone at risk to maximize profits.
Warehouse Workers for Justice (WWJ) strongly condemns Amazon’s decision to end on-site COVID-19 testing on July 30. This decision sends the wrong message to the public at a moment when cases are rising and vaccination rates are falling.
With only less than 50% of the general population being fully vaccinated, warehouse workers remain at an increased risk. Making matters worse, Amazon has repeatedly failed to inform warehouse workers about COVID-19 cases and provide safeguards to protect its employees, and their families.
In fact, Amazon has potentially fueled the pandemic from within warehouses by failing to provide hazard pay, paid sick leave, and COVID-19 accommodations—creating conditions that have gotten workers sick and potentially led to increased community spread.
There’s a reason that Amazon hasn’t publicly shared data since October 2020, when they admitted to more than 19,000 positive cases among its frontline workers.
We call upon elected officials and communities to hold Amazon accountable and to not normalize these horrific conditions. We simply can’t allow one of the world’s largest corporations to receive over $4 billion in public subsidies while it puts workers and communities at risk.
On Monday, July 12th at approximately 3:15pm, an unknown shooter opened fire into the WWJ office in Joliet, destroying our front door and passing through our normally crowded office space. Typically, there are up to four staff members in the office meeting with workers, hosting community events, and organizing our programs, but luckily everyone was gathered at a staff meeting off site and nobody was harmed.
On July 15, we launched an emergency fundraiser to repair our space and help make it a safe haven for workers and community members to gather. In less than 24 hours of launching our campaign, we exceeded our goal.
We'd like to thank every Warehouse Workers for Justice supporter who gave to our emergency fundraiser, expressed concern, and helped us spread the word. Thanks to all of you, we were able to surpass our goal and raise over $4,200 to cover the necessary repairs and renovations to our Joliet office.
Your generous contributions have helped us replace our front door and get to work on installing a security system that will make our space more secure for staff, workers, and the Joliet community to organize.
Any excess funds will support our Worker Outreach Program, which provides workers and community members and tenants with legal help, access to the COVID-19 vaccine, support with workplace issues, and much more.
We’re incredibly grateful to have you on our side as we continue fighting for a better future.
As the dangerous Delta COVID variant spreads, Warehouse Workers for Justice continues to urge warehouse workers and our community members to get vaccinated if they have not already done so. In response to the surge of COVID cases due to the Delta variant, Warehouse Workers launched an on-going series of Vaccine Ambassador Training events.
Following our Emergency Press Conference and Vaccine Outreach event on July 26, we held our first two virtual training sessions in the last week of July, which can be viewed on-demand through our Facebook page. The first event was held in English on Tuesday, July 27, and the second event was held in Spanish on Wednesday, July 28.
Warehouse Workers for Justice invites folks to join and share our other upcoming Vaccine Ambassador Training events, where we will continue to discuss best practices when talking to hesitant family & friends about the importance of vaccination for health & safety:
Researchers and public health officials agree that vaccination offers protection against the highly transmissible delta variant. While the COVID-19 vaccine is now widely available, one major obstacle is overcoming hesitancy among our communities.
Stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our communities is a shared responsibility. It’s up to each of us to talk to our coworkers, friends, and family. Will you join and support us in fighting COVID-19?
On Monday, July 26, Warehouse Workers for Justice (WWJ), Temp Worker Union Alliance Project (TWUAP), and our allies held an Emergency Press Conference and Vaccine Outreach event to emphasize the critical need for community members to get vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The event was attended and covered by the following media outlets: The Herald-News, WBBM, Telemundo Chicago, and ABC Channel 7.
Speakers at the press conference — which included WWJ Executive Director Roberto Clack, WWJ Community Health Navigator & COVID Survivor Brandin McDonald, Will County Health Department Vaccine Equity Manager Vinita Voss, WWJ Member Alfred White, a UIC School of Public Health representative, and Joliet City Councilman Cesar Guerrero — urged community members and especially warehouse workers to get the vaccine if they have not yet done so.
At the press conference, Guerrero addressed the impact of COVID-19 on the warehousing industry. Unvaccinated warehouse workers remain at an increased risk of infection due to the job conditions of the industry. Cramped or tight spaces, high traffic and contained areas, and high work rates is one workplace condition that places them at a particularly high risk.
Guerrero also explained how the employment structure of warehouses through temporary staffing agencies makes detecting, protecting against, and fighting COVID another serious challenge.
Following the press conference, WWJ targeted zip codes in Joliet with the highest infection rates, took to the streets, and went door-to-door to inform and implore unvaccinated community members to get vaccinated.
WWJ News from 2016 and before can be read here: