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Amazon warehouse worker dies of coronavirus in NYC

An Amazon warehouse worker in New York has reportedly died from the coronavirus. 

Amazon says that the employee was last at the Staten Island warehouse on April 5 and was later placed on quarantine after testing positive on April 11. Amazon said that the employee was not contact traced to any other Amazon employees.

The employee’s death was first reported by The Verge.

Amazon spokesperson, Lisa Levandowski, told Digital Trends the company saddened by the loss of the employee. 

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of an associate at our site in Staten Island, NY,” Levandowski said. “His family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting his fellow colleagues.”

The employee worked at the same Amazon warehouse that went on strike in late March over the company’s failure to protect employees from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Amazon’s labor practices have been under fire for some time, but its warehouse working conditions are being especially criticized during the coronavirus pandemic. Amazon’s warehouse workers have been deemed as “essential workers,” meaning they must continue working despite widespread social distancing guidelines.

Two Amazon employees were fired last month for speaking out about the safety conditions in the company’s warehouses.

U.S. lawmakers have also called on Amazon to do more to protects its workers from the coronavirus. Four senators, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in March calling for the company to give its warehouse workers benefits. The letter urged Amazon to guarantee sick pay, pay for coronavirus tests, and provide hazard pay for those who work during this time.

After that letter, Amazon that it would raise its overtime pay for warehouse workers from 1.5 times pay to two times pay and that it will give up to two weeks of paid sick leave to warehouse workers who have a confirmed coronavirus diagnosis. 

However, workers who do not have a coronavirus diagnosis will not get sick pay, which risks infections spreading among employees who are forced to come to work if they haven’t been tested yet or haven’t gotten coronavirus test results back. 

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