Amazon worker in New York warehouse dies of Covid-19

NEW YORK: a worker in a NY Where employees called for increased security measures, he died of COVID-19, the e-commerce giant said Tuesday.

We are deeply saddened by the loss of an associate at our site in Staten Island, New York, Amazon spokeswoman Lisa Levandowski said in a statement emailed to AFP.

His family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting his colleagues, he added.

Amazon has become a lifesaver for consumers facing blockades and restrictions around the world, and the company is in the process of adding some 175,000 new employees to meet growing demand.

But the company has also faced protests from warehouse workers and activists who say Amazon hasn't done enough to keep them safe.

More than a dozen protesters, including employees and activists, protested outside the Staten Island warehouse last week.

In March, NY Attorney General Letitia James called for an investigation after Amazon fired employee Chris Smalls after he organised a walkout of workers at the warehouse.

Smalls claimed that the company was not taking precautions to protect warehouse personnel from COVID-19, and said 50 to 60 employees at the facility had contracted the disease.

Amazon said Smalls was fired after he left for work after coming into contact with someone who had contracted the virus, in violation of quarantine rules.

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Amazon insists that it has invested to protect staff and says the infection rate at the Staten Island facility is significantly below the community rate.

NY is the worst-hit state in the country, with over 320,000 declared cases and around 20,000 deaths.

On Monday, Tim Bray, Amazon's vice president, said he resigned in protest at the company that fired three employees who protested against the treatment at the warehouses.

In France, Amazon has been embroiled in a battle with unions, which say not enough has been done to mitigate the risk of contagion for staff working nearby to process an avalanche of orders amid the national shutdown.

France's labor ministry said it had rejected an Amazon request for emergency funds to pay employees during the coronavirus crisis after the U.S. giant closed its warehouses, following a court order to sell only essential items.

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