Amazon, Instacart Workers Demand Better Pay, Sick Leave

Amazon workers in New York and Instacart workers across the country planned walkouts amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Posted at 5:32 PM, Mar 30, 2020

Workers at Instacart and a New York Amazon warehouse are demanding higher pay and better protection amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Workers at both companies are concerned about their health and say the safety measures in place now aren't enough. 

Amazon workers at a Staten Island facility walked out Monday to demand more access to paid sick leave, which is currently only available to people who test positive for COVID-19 or are under mandatory quarantine. They also want the retail giant to close and sanitize the warehouse and pay them while it does so.

Instacart workers also planned a walkout; they want disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and hazard pay. They're also demanding more access to paid sick time.

A few weeks ago, Amazon said it planned to hire more workers to help fulfill online deliveries during the coronavirus pandemic. It also temporarily increased pay by $2 per hour and doubled overtime in the U.S. 

But a worker leading the Amazon warehouse walkout said more employees have tested positive for the coronavirus than the company had previously said. 

Instacart announced new measures meant to keep employees safe ahead of the planned strike. The company said it would distribute health and safety supplies to workers who gather items at supermarkets and then drop them off at people's homes. But workers said those measures were not enough and called them "insulting." 

Whole Foods workers across the country will also stage a so-called "sick out" on Tuesday. Employees at Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon, say the policies in place have failed to protect workers. They have a list of demands, including guaranteed paid leave for all workers who isolate or self-quarantine; guaranteed hazard pay; and the shutdown of any location where a worker tests positive for the coronavirus. 

Lawmakers and attorneys general have already sent letters to Amazon urging it to offer workers more paid sick leave during the pandemic.

Contains footage from CNN.