Amazon workers in at least 10 of the company’s warehouses have tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple reports Wednesday. The first case at a warehouse was reported in Queens last week, according to Forbes. The company has seen a surge of demand as hundreds of millions of people around the world have shifted their shopping online as they’ve been confined to their homes. Amazon is struggling to meet the rush of business: Its warehouses have continued operating but have focused only on household staples like toilet paper and groceries, extending delivery times for other items. The company has pledged to hire 100,000 more people to meet demand.
Simultaneously, some employees within Amazon accused the company of “inadequate” and at times “openly negligent” practices in protecting employees against the new coronavirus. The employees called for unconditional paid sick leave for all workers amid the pandemic and urged the company to end its work with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over COVID-19 concerns. Amazon employees involved with the group We Won’t Build It, an activist coalition of tech sector workers, published a statement Wednesday via Google Doc declaring that Amazon’s work with the agency will render any attempts to curb the virus “futile.” We Won’t Build It calls ICE a public health hazard over reports that the coronavirus is spreading in immigrant detention centers. The e-commerce giant provides web hosting to ICE via its subsidiary Amazon Web Services.