Amazon workers demand safer conditions at San Leandro warehouse

A coalition of labor groups, including Amazon workers, staged a protest Saturday morning at the e-retailer's warehouse in San Leandro.

Several dozen people took part in the caravan protest that ended up at the parking lot of the warehouse.

This group started raising its concerns to Amazon several months ago, and ultimately decided to organize the caravan.

Demonstrators delivered a petition in hopes of getting Amazon to shut down the warehouse and deep-clean the entire facility.

Some employees say they work in unsafe conditions at the warehouse, and want the company to put the health of its workers ahead of profits.

One of the demonstrators was Adrienne Williams. She quit her job as an Amazon driver last week.

"Our vans were getting sanitized every two weeks, so I was having to bring my own wipes to clean my van every day, and as everybody knows, those are difficult to find," said Williams. "So it was a scary proposition trying to figure out how to keep myself safe, and other people safe, while I was at work."

According to the Los Angeles Times, the California Attorney General's Office is examining Amazon's safety policies during the pandemic.

The demands of workers are broken down into two parts. Non-COVID related demands include starting pay of $30 per hour, full medical benefits for all workers, a route designer in every warehouse, no retaliation against workers who speak out and organize and following state and local labor and safety laws.

COVID related demands include redesigning workplaces with social distancing markers on the floor and training workers to use them, sterilize vans daily and providing drivers and flex drivers with adequate supplies and personal protective equipment, creating a transparent process for informing workers of positive COVID-19 cases, sending any employee exposed to COVID-19 home immediately with pay for two weeks to quarantine and suspending delivery of non-essential items during the pandemic.

In a statement, Amazon spokesperson Brittany Parmley said, “Nothing is more important than health and well-being of all of our employees, and we are doing everything we can to keep them as safe as possible. We’ve invested over $800 million in the first half of this year implementing 150 significant process changes on COVID-19 safety measures by purchasing items like masks, hand sanitizer, thermal cameras, thermometers, sanitizing wipes, gloves, additional handwashing stations, and adding disinfectant spraying in buildings, procuring COVID testing supplies, and additional janitorial teams.”

The company’s pandemic response also includes two weeks pay for anyone quarantined because of a COVID diagnosis or exposure to someone with COVID, adding more than 5,700 janitorial staffers who do intense daily cleanings and communicating positive cases to all workers at the facility where the infected person works.