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Father of five, 50, becomes latest Amazon worker to die of COVID-19

por Tammara Goris (2020-06-27)


\ub808\uc804\ub4dc \uc5d0\uc774\uc804\uc2dc WBC247 \ubcb3\uc774\uc2a4\ud2b8\uc0ac\ub2e4\ub9ac \ud30c\uc6cc\ubcfc, \ud30c\uc6cc\uc0ac\ub2e4\ub9ac, \ud0a4\ub178\uc0ac\ub2e4\ub9ac \ucd94\uac00 \uc624\ud508!! \u2013 WBC247 \uc6d0\ucee4\ub125\ud2b8 \ubcb3\ud398\uc5b4A father-of-five has become the latest Amazon worker to die from COVID-19 amid calls from his colleagues for greater coronavirus safety measures. 

The unnamed employee, 50, worked the night shift as a picker at the online retail giant's facility in Waukegan, Illinois. He died on April 18, leaving behind his wife, five children and two stepchildren. 

He becomes at least the fourth Amazon staff member to die from the virus. The company will not confirm exact numbers but there have been reported deaths in Staten Island, New York and Hawthorne and Tracy, both in California. 

The worker had last been in the facility on March 19 and tested positive for the virus five days later. 

One employee told CNBC they heard about the death 'through the grapevine'. Another said: 'If someone I know doesn't show up one day, and it's because they got sick and died, are we just not going to acknowledge that loss?' 

Amazon say the nature of shift work may have meant the death announcement was not heard by all staff members. They insist they have prioritized workers' safety, spending nearly $700 million on higher pay and more than 150 measures such as providing masks and performing temperature checks.

A spokesperson said: 'We are saddened by the loss of an associate at our site in Waukegan, Illinois. His family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting his fellow colleagues.'  DailyMail.com has contacted Amazon for comment.  






The unnamed employee, 50, worked the night shift as a picker at the online retail giant's facility in Waukegan, Illinois, pictured. He died on April 18







Amazon has faced protests from warehouse workers who claim the company has failed to do enough to keep them safe. The Illinois becomes at least the fourth Amazon staff member to die from the virus. The company will not confirm exact numbers but there have been reported deaths in Staten Island, New York and Hawthorne and Tracy, both in California


Amazon has become a lifeline for consumers facing lockdowns and restrictions around the world, and the company is in the process of adding some 175,000 new employees to cope with surging demand.

But the company has also faced protests from warehouse workers and activists who claim Amazon has failed to do enough to keep them safe. 

An Amazon worker at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York - where employees called for greater coronavirus safety measures - died of COVID-19 after contracting the virus last month.









The company said the employee was last onsite on April 5 and was confirmed to have the virus on April 11 as he remained in quarantine. Contact tracing revealed no link to other employees. 

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

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

Smalls claimed the company was failing to take precautions to protect warehouse staff from COVID-19, and said that between 50 and 60 employees at the facility had contracted the illness.

Amazon said Smalls was fired after he went to work after contracting coronavirus, in a violation of quarantining rules. 

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

The company says it believes its employees at the Staten Island facility who tested positive were likely exposed at home or in the community, and that there was no evidence that they were linked through the workplace.






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Former Amazon employee, Christian Smalls, stands with fellow demonstrators during a protest outside of an Amazon warehouse on May 1 as the outbreak of the coronavirus continues in the Staten Island borough of New York







One employee told CNBC they heard about the death 'through the grapevine'. Another said: 'If someone I know doesn't show up one day, and it's because they got sick and died, are we just not going to acknowledge that loss?'







A message is painted by activists on the street outside of one of homes of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Washington on April 29


Amazon says that it is spending $800 million in the first half of the year on safety precautions to protect its workforce from coronavirus. 

But on Monday, Tim Bray, an Amazon vice president, said he had resigned in protest at the company sacking three staff who spoke out against treatment in warehouses.  

Engineer Tim Bray announced he was leaving the online retail giant after more than five years, citing the 'vein of toxicity running through the company culture'. He also slammed the tech giant's actions as 'chickens**t'.

The VP at Amazon Web Services says at least six of his colleagues have been fired for speaking out; Courtney Bowden, Gerald Bryson, Maren Costa, Emily Cunningham, Bashir Mohammed, and Chris Smalls.

In a blog post, Bray says the move will 'probably cost me over a million (pre-tax) dollars' but adds: 'Firing whistleblowers...is evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture. I choose neither to serve nor drink that poison'  

He added: 'The warehouse workers are weak and getting weaker, what with mass unemployment and (in the US) job-linked health insurance.

'So they're gonna get treated like crap, because capitalism. Any plausible solution has to start with increasing their collective strength.' 






Tim Bray, pictured, announced he has quit his job 'in dismay' at the firing of whistleblowers who raised concerns about unsafe warehouse working conditions amid coronavirus

















Designers Emily Cunningham, left, and Maren Costa, right, both critics of the online retail giant's working conditions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, were fired from Amazon


The company last week warned that it could post a loss in the second quarter as it tacked on about $4 billion in costs related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

For the quarter ended in March, Amazon's revenue rose by 26 percent from last year, to $75.45 billion, as the retail giant recorded a surge in demand for online orders of essential goods during pandemic.

However, profits were down 30 percent from the same period last year amid higher spending, with earnings per share of $5.01 missing Wall Street expectations of $6.25 per share.






Gerard Tuzara, an Air Force veteran, became the first known Amazon warehouse worker to die from the coronavirus on March 31


The e-commerce giant has been spending heavily to keep up with a surge in online orders. Amazon had earlier said it would hire about 175,000 workers and raise wages by $2 for hourly workers as well as overtime pay, which would increase expenses by nearly $700 million. 

'If you're a shareowner in Amazon, you may want to take a seat, because we're not thinking small,' CEO Jeff Bezos said in a press release.

'Under normal circumstances, in this coming Q2, we'd expect to make some $4 billion or more in operating profit,' Bezos continued.

'But these aren't normal circumstances. Instead, we expect to spend the entirety of that $4 billion, and perhaps a bit more, on COVID-related expenses getting products to customers and keeping employees safe.'  

Gerard Tuzara, an Air Force veteran, became the first known Amazon warehouse worker to die from the coronavirus on March 31. 

The 35-year-old worked as an operations manager at Amazon's Hawthorne facility near LAX airport in Southern California. 

Tuzara's last day of work was March 6 after which point he was on vacation in Mexico until March 20.

A week later, he began experiencing flu-like symptoms and was admitted to hospital Amazon confirmed to DailyMail.com on Tuesday. 



















One of Tuzara's friends wrote a tribute which has been posted in the warehouse where he worked.

'Gerry was an Air Force officer, a loving husband, son and uncle,' the letter read. 'He will be greatly missed.'

Family members also posted their own touching tributes including Tuzara's sister, Jess.

'I refuse to believe you're not here anymore. Everything feels so unreal and i wish to wake up from this. I feel so helpless not being able to see, hold nor talk to you one last time. 

I would give everything back to tell and make you feel one last time that we love you. Im sorry you left with no one by your side', ???? she wrote.

























Read more:

Amazon worker in Illinois dies of coronavirus