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New York prosecutor wants to force Amazon to better protect its employees against Covid

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The New York State prosecutor on Tuesday asked for an injunction requiring Amazon to take additional health measures to protect warehouse workers when activity is in full swing in the run-up to the holidays and where the Omicron variant is gaining momentum.

The online commerce giant “acts as if the pandemic is over” even as the risk of transmission is on the rise, says Letitia James in a case filed with the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

Also read: Alec MacGillis: “Amazon won the Covid-19 crisis”

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She therefore asks for the appointment of an independent controller overseeing the implementation of new sanitary measures in this warehouse which accommodates more than 5,000 employees in Staten Island, a district of New York City.

Request for enhanced cleaning measures

Letitia James notably wants Amazon to change its productivity monitoring tools so that employees have enough time to clean, disinfect and stay away from coworkers.

It also calls for more important cleaning measures when cases of Covid-19 infections are detected as well as the establishment of adequate tracing protocols.

“Amazon must ensure a work environment that promotes security, transparency and respect for its hard-working employees, and not an environment that puts them more at risk,” said the prosecutor in a statement.

A previous complaint against the group

Asked by AFP, an Amazon spokesperson said it was “disappointing” that prosecutor James “is trying to politicize the pandemic”. “Every day, we work hard for our teams,” she said, referring to the group’s “comprehensive approach” to deal with the coronavirus “from the start of the pandemic”, with employee protection measures which cost more than $ 15 billion, according to the same source.

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Also read: Employees sue Amazon for exposure to Covid-19

Letitia James has already filed a complaint in February against the group, accusing it of not having sufficiently protected its New York employees since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and of having taken retaliatory measures against several employees. complaining about the working conditions.

Amazon is one of the big winners of the health crisis, its sales having jumped in favor of lockdowns and travel restrictions around the world. The firm has been hiring hard since September to meet consumer demand as the holidays approach.

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