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Amazon Announces Special One-time Bonus of $500 Million For Its Covid-19 Frontline Workers

Amazon.com Inc said on Monday it would spend $500 million on one-time bonuses to its front-line employees and partners working through the coronavirus crisis. Employees and partners who have been with the e-commerce company through June will receive bonuses ranging from $150 to $3,000, the company said (here) in a blog post.

The world’s largest online retailer, which delivers about 10 billion items a year, has been facing intense scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers and unions over whether it is doing enough to protect staff from the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier in the day, workers at six Amazon sites in Germany decided to go on strike in protest over safety after some staff at logistics centres tested positive for coronavirus, labour union Verdi said on Sunday.


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Tech

My Opinion Won't Change: Jeff Bezos Defends Amazon's 'Black Lives Matter' Stance

File photo of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. (Reuters)

File photo of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. (Reuters)

The screenshot of an email from an angry Amazon customer that Bezos posted along with his response on Friday said that it was both disturbing and offensive.

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  • Last Updated: June 6, 2020, 12:53 PM IST

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has explained why the Black Lives Matter movement is not an insult to others. In a reply to an Amazon customer in an Instagram post, Bezos said that ‘Black Lives Matter’ doesn’t mean that other lives don’t matter.

The screenshot of an email from a customer that Bezos posted along with his response on Friday said that it was “disturbing” and “offensive” that Amazon posted a message on its website in solidarity with the movement. The customer’s used the phrase “ALL LIVES MATTER!”

“I have to disagree with you. ‘Black Lives Matter’ doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter. Black lives matter speaks to racism and the disproportionate risk that Black people face in our law enforcement and justice system,” posted Bezos. Bezos said “he doesn’t have to worry that his son might be choked to death while being detained one day. I want you to know I support this movement that we see happening all around us and my stance won’t change”.

In a blog post this week, Amazon said it stands in solidarity with Black employees, customers and partners. “As part of that effort, Amazon will donate a total of $10 million to organizations that are working to bring about social justice and improve the lives of Black and African Americans,” said the company.




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Amazon Engineers Who Helped Develop The Kindle And Echo Devices Are Working on COVID Testing Tools

Representative Image.

Representative Image.

Amazon recently announced to build its own coronavirus testing lab and test more employees at its warehouses and other facilities.

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  • Last Updated: May 26, 2020, 10:22 AM IST

The Amazon team behind products like Kindle e-readers and Echo smart home speakers are now working on to build Covid-19 testing capabilities. Amazon’s hardware group Lab126 is hiring engineers to work on its coronavirus testing initiative, according to job listings reported by GeekWire.

In a series of job posts, the e-commerce giant is looking for new Lab126 mechanical design engineers to “investigate and introduce new technology and methodology to enhance quality and efficiency of Covid-19 testing,” among other responsibilities.

“Lab126 is based in Silicon Valley, but the posts indicate these jobs are located in Hebron, Ky., where Amazon is separately hiring lab assistants, scientists and others for its COVID-19 testing programme,” said the report. Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has made it clear that the company’s Covid-19 response will be a major new initiative.

Amid the call to shut its warehouses and protect front-line employees from the COVID-19 disease, Amazon recently announced to build its own coronavirus testing lab and test more employees at its warehouses and other facilities. According to the company, a team of Amazonians with a variety of skills from research scientists and programme managers to procurement specialists and software engineers have moved from their normal day jobs onto a dedicated team to work on this initiative.

“We have begun assembling the equipment we need to build our first lab and hope to start testing small numbers of our front line employees soon,” Amazon said in a statement. To date, Amazon has made over 150 process changes at sites around the world to ensure the health and safety of its teams.

Covid-19 claimed the life of another Amazon warehouse worker in the US last week, amid demand for enhanced safety measures for the e-commerce giant’s employees. The latest victim became the eighth Amazon warehouse worker in the US to have lost life due to complications from Covid-19, although the e-commerce giant did not disclose the exact numbers.




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COVID-19 Has Killed Six Amazon Employees, At Least 600 Others Infected

Representative Image.

Representative Image.

Amazon, Inc. is the second-largest private employer in the US and announced recently it hired an additional 175,000 people during the coronavirus pandemic.

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  • Last Updated: May 11, 2020, 12:08 PM IST

Nearly 600 Amazon employees have been tested coronavirus positive, a company employee said, and at least six of those infected are dead. Jana Jumpp, 59, who works at an Amazon warehouse in Indiana, told the ’60 Minutes’ TV show host she took advantage of the sheltering-at-home benefit because she feared for her health. “I can tell you right now, and the number is higher than this, but we have at least 600 [cases],” Jumpp said, adding that six Amazon employees have died from COVID-19 disease. According to the company, there have been four deaths owing to the deadly respiratory disease.

“I was a little uncomfortable�the cases were starting in Washington and it didn’t seem like anybody had a plan, even Amazon. So my only option at that point was to take a leave of absence,” she said.bAccording to the report, Jumpp is tracking the number of Amazon employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 at locations throughout the US. “She gathers her data by connecting with coworkers across the country and collecting the automated text messages and robocalls Amazon sends its employees when someone tests positive at one of its facilities,” said the report.bAmazon’s head of operations Dave Clark, said this is not the most important way to quantify the problem.

“The etotal number of cases isn’t particularly useful because it’s relative to the size of the building and then the overall community infection rate,” Clark told ’60 Minutes’. Amazon, Inc. is the second-largest private employer in the US and announced recently it hired an additional 175,000 people during the coronavirus pandemic. Nine US Senators including former presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris (D-CA) wrote a letter to Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos last week, seeking information about the e-commerce giants policies for discipline and termination regarding workers who raise health and safety concerns.

The letter focused on four former Amazon workers who were fired shortly after they publicly raised concerns about warehouse conditions during the pandemic in March and April. These were Chris Smalls and Bashir Mohamed and tech employees Maren Costa and Emily Cunningham. “In order to understand how the termination of employees that raised concerns about health and safety conditions did not constitute retaliation for whistleblowing, we are requesting information about Amazon’s policies regarding grounds for employee discipline and termination,” read the letter.




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