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Amazon And Instacart Employees Could Soon Go On Strike Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Gettyimages | Andrei Stanescu
By Clark Sparky

About 100 Amazon employees at a Staten Island warehouse where one of their colleagues tested positive for the coronavirus are preparing to go on strike Monday to protest what they feel are unsafe working conditions.

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"We're very low on masks, we don't have the proper gloves, all we want is for the building to be closed and professionally sanitized," Chris Smalls, management assistant in the warehouse and an organizer of the strike, said on the "Today" show. "I'm afraid to go to work."

Amazon responded to NBC with a statement, according to reporter Sam Brock. "These accusations are simply unfounded. ... We have taken extreme measures to keep people safe, tripling down on deep cleaning, procuring safety supplies that are available and changing processes to ensure those in our buildings are keeping safe distances," the company said.

Gettyimages | FREDERIC J. BROWN

Grocery delivery service Instacart could also be facing a strike from its employees, as well. They want more hazard pay and paid sick leave should they be diagnosed with COVID-19. The company recently announced it planned to hire 300,000 new workers to keep up with demand during the pandemic.

"This could be devastating," NBC's Brock said on air Monday. "Many people use these services specifically because they don't want to go into crowded stores. And it's more than just supermarkets, Instacart has relationships with wholesalers like Costco, pharmacies like CVS — now thousands of workers could walk out on the job this morning."

Staying Safe

Heath officials are urging people to remain in their homes as much as possible and avoid all social gatherings. Additionally, the CDC has issued some tips for helping to avoid contracting the disease.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Stay home when you are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

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