Attorneys general from around the country are calling on Amazon to provide COVID-19 related data on workers in its facilities who have tested positive or died.
The group, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy, includes attorneys general from 13 states and territories.
In a letter sent to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, the attorneys general requested a state-by-state breakdown of workers who tested positive for coronavirus and died from the virus at the company’s facilities.
“Amazon and Whole Foods are occupying a unique space during this crisis, providing millions of Americans with groceries and necessary supplies,” the letter states. “It is incumbent upon Amazon and Whole Foods as businesses and employers not to worsen the emergency by failing to take every possible step to protect their employees and their customers.”
This letter is not the first sign of criticism the company has faced for lack of protection for their employees during the coronavirus crisis.
This week, several U.S. senators questioned Amazon’s firing of four whistleblowers who raised concerns about hazardous working conditions in several facilities.
According to the New York Times, more than 100 Amazon warehouses have reported cases of coronavirus, and several workers have died.
The primary law requiring a safe working environment is the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). The Washington Post reports that thousands of coronavirus related OSHA complaints are pouring into OSHA. Despite its mandate to protect worker safety, for years, the OSHA whistleblower law has been highly criticized. In recent weeks, whistleblower advocates sounded the alarm on the need to reform this law to ensure workplace whistleblowers are fully protected.
In an article published in April by the National Law Review, whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn discusses the reforms needed to ensure worker safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Front line health and safety workers need OSHA to be an effective law for worker safety,” Kohn says. “While they risk their health daily by treating patients sick from the coronavirus pandemic, the current federal law designed to protect their safety does not work. No worker should ever have to choose between their job and becoming sick from COVID-19.”