An internal note from Amazon shows how it is immediately tracking coronavirus data in stores

An internal note from Amazon shows how it is immediately tracking coronavirus data in stores

But behind bars, Amazon has closely monitored the spread of the virus inside at least one store, according to an internal note seen by CNN Business. And their own data may raise new concerns about the rate of infection in their facilities.

Amazon has previously claimed that coronavirus cases were “appearing at approximately a generally fair rate relative to current community infection rates,” according to Amazon SVP, of global operations Dave Clark. But the internal note reveals that the infection rate at an Amazon warehouse in Shakopee, Minnesota, is noticeably higher than the surrounding communities.
The Shakopee facility, known as MSP1, has an infection rate of 1.7%, according to the note, which was first reported by Bloomberg. According to the note, five local counties had lower rates. For example, Scott County, where Shakopee is located, had an infection rate of 0.1%, per note; the infection rate in Hennepin County, where Minneapolis is located, had a rate of 0.4% during the same period.

The note, which appears to have been updated through May 18, further breaks down the departments, shifts and counties of residence of the 45 confirmed workers who had coronavirus. The granular details show the closeness that the company keeps records of the cases, despite choosing not to disclose this information to workers.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our equipment. We have reorganized a large number of scientists, technologists and employees of our data center to dedicate ourselves to the Covid-19 and ensure the security of our workforce, including thousands of people in our health and safety teams, ”Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman told CNN Business. Cheeseman added that “an in-depth site analysis is one of many tools that help us assess the full picture of our Covid-19-related buildings.”

Amazon, which did not deny the existence of the note, did not answer a question about whether it is collecting information similar to its other sites.

“We use a variety of data to closely monitor the safety of our buildings and there is strong evidence that our employees do not proliferate the virus at work; what we generally see is that the overall rate of infection and the increase or decrease in total cases is highly correlated with the overall infection rate for the community, “Cheeseman said in the statement. “Over the months of Covid-19, thousands of employees and partners have worked at our Shakopee site and we believe people are not spreading the virus at work given the robust security measures we have put in place.”

Last week, the Minnesota Department of Health said 88 workers at the facility they have tested positive for coronavirus, revealing a review of the numbers that Amazon has repeatedly rejected for making public. The Minnesota Department of Health told CNN Business on Tuesday that 92 workers at the facility have already tested positive, with a total of 198 workers at Amazon’s Minnesota facilities positive.

According to the note, Amazon works “regularly” with the Minnesota Department of Health and county health departments for positive cases. But the note also shows an important desire of workers for more information. In the first two weeks of May, according to the note, the Shakopee facility saw “64% of security comments demanding transparency in details about infected Covid [Amazon Associates], requesting information on shifts, total counts and more up-to-date information. ”

Amazon VP says it left the company and fired whistleblowers & # 39;
Some workers see the recently revealed internal data as a validation of the safety concerns that workers have shown in recent months. Several workers, including at least one at Shakopee’s facility, have been laid off at several Amazon facilities in the United States after protesting over the company’s alleged inadequate response to the coronavirus. (Amazon said earlier that worker Shakopee was fired for “inappropriate language, behavior and misconduct and violating social distancing guidelines.”

“This note is displayed [Amazon] he knows the details, but they have hidden it from us, “said Hibaq Mohamed, who has worked as an Amazon partner for more than three and a half years at the Shakopee facility and has advocated more security precautions.” I don’t mean to say, but this virus is deadly. ”

William Stolz, an Amazon partner at the Shakopee facility, told CNN Business that “the data coming out really supports everything workers have said over the past few months about the seriousness of the spread on Amazon “.

Amazon has seen a growing demand during the pandemic as people stay home and look at their products and services as a lifeline for basic household items. But it has also become the subject of increased scrutiny over the working conditions of its 110 performance centers across North America with 400,000 employees.

The company has faced pressure from more than a dozen lawyers general that has asked Amazon to release a state-by-state break of confirmed cases of Covid-19 at its facilities as part of broader demands on worker safety and health. Prosecutor Letitia James of the New York Attorney General has interviewed workers at various Amazon facilities in New York City as part of an investigation into workers’ concerns about coronavirus-related safety measures. The company is also facing lawsuits over an alleged lack of coronavirus protection at its Staten Island facility.
Although the full extent of confirmed coronavirus cases at its facilities is unknown, there have been at least 10 deaths among Amazon warehouse employees that have tested positive for coronavirus. But while the number of confirmed cases continues to grow nationwide, Amazon has eliminated some of its coronavirus-related policies for workers, including unpaid unlimited rest time, an hourly wage of $ 2 and a double overtime pay. On Monday, Amazon announced it would give more than $ 500 million as a “thank you” to front-line workers who were with the company throughout the month of June.

Amazon has said it shares with employees when there is a confirmed case in which they work, but workers have said the communication has been inconsistent. For example, an Amazon spokesman previously confirmed to CNN Business that while it once included numerous confirmed cases when notifying workers, it stopped doing so because it didn’t think the number was useful.

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