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An internal Amazon memo shows how carefully it is monitoring coronavirus data in warehouses

But behind the scenes, Amazon closely followed the spread of the virus in at least one warehouse, according to an internal memo viewed by CNN Business. And his data could raise new concerns about the infection rate in his facilities.

Amazon previously said that coronavirus cases “were popping up at about a generally slower rate than current community infection rates are,” according to Amazon SVP of global operations Dave Clark. But the internal note reveals that the infection rate in an Amazon warehouse in Shakopee, Minnesota, is significantly higher than in the surrounding communities.
The Shakopee facility, known as MSP1, has an infection rate of 1.7%, according to the memo, reported for the first time by Bloomberg. According to the memo, 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% in the same period.

The reminder, which appears to be updated until May 18, further divides the departments, shifts and counties of residence for the 45 workers who have confirmed they have coronavirus. The detailed details highlight how well the company is keeping the cases under control, despite having decided not to disclose this information to workers.

Amazon insists on sharing data about coronavirus cases in its warehouses is not helpful

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our teams. We have redeployed a large number of our data scientists, technicians and operational employees to focus on Covid-19 and ensure the safety of our workforce, including thousands of people on our health and teams. of security, “Amazon spokesman Kelly Cheeseman said in a statement to CNN Business. Cheeseman added that “a thorough site analysis is one of many tools that help us evaluate the complete picture of our Covid-19 related buildings.”

Amazon, which has not denied the existence of the reminder, has not answered a question as to whether it is collecting similar information on its other sites.

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

Last week, the Minnesota Department of Health said that 88 workers at the facility have given coronavirus positive results, revealing a look at the numbers Amazon has repeatedly refused to make public. The Minnesota Department of Health told CNN Business Tuesday that 92 workers at the facility have now tested positive, with a total of 198 workers at Amazon’s Minnesota facilities testing positive.

According to the reminder, Amazon is “regularly engaged” with the Minnesota Department of Health and the county health departments applicable to positive cases. But the memo also shows a significant desire by workers for more information. In the first two weeks of May, according to the reminder, the Shakopee facility saw “64% of security comments requiring transparency in details regarding infected Covid [Amazon Associates], requesting shift information, total counts and the most up-to-date information. ”

Amazon VP claims to have stopped firing whistleblowers & # 39;
Some workers see the newly revealed internal data as a validation of the safety concerns expressed by workers in recent months. Numerous workers, including at least one at the Shakopee plant, have been laid off in various Amazonian facilities in the United States after being used to talking about the company’s alleged inadequate response to the coronavirus. (Amazon previously claimed that the Shakopee worker was fired for “inappropriate language, behavior and violation of social distancing guidelines.)

“This memo shows [Amazon] he knows the details, but they have hidden us, “said Hibaq Mohamed, who has worked as an Amazon associate for more than three and a half years at the Shakopee facility and has asked for more security precautions.” I don’t want to tell us, but this virus is deadly. ”

William Stolz, an Amazon collaborator at the Shakopee plant, told CNN Business that “the data coming out really supports everything that workers have said in recent months about how bad the spread on Amazon is.”

Amazon has seen an increase in demand during the pandemic while people stay at home and view its products and services as a lifeline for the essentials for the home. But it has also become subject to greater control over the workplace conditions of its 110 distribution centers across North America with 400,000 employees.

The company faced pressure from more than a dozen attorneys general who asked Amazon to release a state-by-state breakdown of Covid-19’s confirmed cases at its facilities as part of the broader health and safety demands of workers. The New York Attorney General’s office Letitia James interviewed workers from several Amazonian facilities in New York City as part of an investigation into workers’ concerns about coronavirus-related security measures. The company is also facing a lawsuit for an alleged lack of coronavirus protection at its Staten Island facility.
Although the full extent of confirmed coronavirus cases in its facilities is unknown, there have been at least 10 deaths among Amazon warehouse workers who have tested positive for coronavirus. But although the number of confirmed cases continues to grow across the country, Amazon has eliminated some of its coronavirus policies for workers, including unpaid unlimited free time, an increase in wages per hour of $ 2 and a double overtime pay. On Monday, Amazon announced that it would distribute more than $ 500 million in “Thanksgiving Bonuses” to frontline workers who were with the company during the month of June.

Amazon said it shared with employees when there is a confirmed case in which they work, but workers said the communication was inconsistent. For example, an Amazon spokesman previously confirmed to CNN Business that although he once included a number of confirmed cases during worker notification, he stopped doing so because he does not believe the number is useful.

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