COVID-19 Concerns Spark Talks of Strikes Over Pay, Protection

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As COVID-19 drives consumers to online shopping and grocery delivery, workers who help provide those services are asking for better protections and pay. Today (March 30, 2020) some employees at two major companies—Amazon and Instacart—have announced plans to walk off the job.

Amazon workers at a warehouse in Staten Island are planning to strike starting around lunchtime, USA Today reported. Several workers have tested positive for COVID-19, according to accounts in the article, and employees plan to strike until the building is sanitized.

In a statement to USA Today, Amazon said “We have taken extreme measures to keep people safe, tripling down on deep cleaning, procuring safety supplies that are available and changing process to ensure those in our buildings are keeping safe distances.” Read the full report on Amazon here.

USA Today also reported that more than 150,000 workers who shop to fill and deliver orders for Instacart have planned a nationwide strike today over inadequate safety measures and hazard pay during the pandemic. The paper reported that workers plan to strike until Instacart meets demands that include the provision of safety supplies including disinfectant wipes, as well as an extra $5 per order in hazard pay and expanded pay for workers impacted by the virus. Detailed coverage can be read in Vice.

NPR reported that the strikes come as Amazon and Instacart have announced plans to hire tens of thousands of new workers to meet the soaring demand for online shopping services and delivery. NPR also reported that on Sunday, Instacart said it would distribute supplies such as hand sanitizer to more workers, and also change some tipping settings. NPR added that Instacart had yet to address the issue of paid sick leave.

In the natural products industry, many retailers are working to serve their local community with alternatives such as phone ordering with curbside pickup. Retailers: If you have success strategies that are working in your store, please reach out to us as editor@wfcinc.com so we can share with the natural products community.

Related: Mother’s Market & Kitchen Supports Struggling Local Businesses
NPA: Natural Products Retailers & Their Supply Chain Essential During Pandemic
FDA Updates: Nutrition Labeling; Food Supply & Safety FAQs

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