Amazon employees walk off the job after company informs them of COVID-19 case

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Dozens of Amazon facilities have now reported cases of COVID-19.

  • Workers at an Amazon sorting hub in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, started "freaking out" after receiving an automated message telling them a colleague had been infected with the novel coronavirus, an employee told Business Insider.
  • Amazon confirmed that 15 employees immediately walked off the job, telling Business Insider that the infected person had last worked April 2.
  • "I worked that shift, so I am worried sick," one employee said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Over a dozen employees walked off the job at an Amazon facility outside Philadelphia on Tuesday following the news that one of their colleagues had been diagnosed with COVID-19, Business Insider can report.

Workers at the sorting facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, were informed via an automated message that someone who had been on-site April 2 was infected with the novel coronavirus.Advertisement

"When the automated phone call started coming through, people started freaking out," one employee told Business Insider.

The company confirmed that employees were indeed informed of the COVID-19 case on April 7 - and that the news spurred an exodus. "There were 15 associates who left the facility," Amazon spokesperson Lisa Levandowski told Business Insider.

On March 31, The Wall Street Journal reported that staff at the King of Prussia facility were struggling to keep up with the demands of their job, with one employee telling the newspaper that she was now responsible for sorting twice as many packages as before the crisis.
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The employee who alerted Business Insider to news of the walk-out said they had little faith that their safety was being ensured, despite efforts by Amazon to increase social distancing, such as removing tables from break rooms and abandoning start-of-the-shift meetings. The company has also temporarily increased hourly pay by $2, while doubling the rate for overtime.

To assuage fears, the worker said, the company should do more than check temperatures."With the way this virus is spread, everyone in the building should be tested," they said, noting that the company only started providing masks this week. "I worked that [April 2] shift," they said, "so I am worried sick."Advertisement

Dozens of Amazon facilities have now reported positive COVID-19 tests among staff. The company itself has refused to respond to requests for a list of all known cases, however, only providing confirmation after employees leak word to the press.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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