MORENO VALLEY (CBSLA) — Many employees leaving the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Moreno Valley did not want to comment about safety protocols inside the warehouse after one of their co-workers tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
“Because they’re afraid to lose their job,” Laura Williamson, an Amazon employee, said.
Williamson was not afraid to speak up, because she works there too and her life might depend on it.
“I have lupus,” she said. “I have a compromised immune system.”
She said the company has taken precautions like staggering shifts and breaks, spacing out benches and microwaves, providing hand sanitizer and making employees aware of social distancing practices. But she feels the company can afford to do much more.
“They care about money, not their people,” she said. “But, we robots, or I mean associates, are what keeps that business running.”
Amazon said it was going to great lengths to keep the building clean, saying that the employee diagnosed with COVID-19 is now quarantining at home. The company said it has also asked everyone in close contact with that employee to self-quarantine.
But Williamson said employees were still touching all the same shipping materials, so they are all in close contact.
“Shut it down for two days,” she said. “Sanitize it.”
The Inland Empire has thousands of distribution warehouses and almost all of Southern California’s essential items pass through the facilities every day.
Many worry about a possible disruption in the supply chain is any of them had to close due to a local coronavirus outbreak.
“We’ve got people that are still coming to work sick because they can’t afford to stay home,” Williamson said.
April, a mother of an Amazon employee said her daughter is one of those who go to work sick.
“She said I feel like I have a sore throat, I’m going to go to the urgent care,” April said.
Because April’s daughter works at the same facility as the employee who tested positive, she underwent a test as well, though her doctor said she did not have any other signs for the illness.
But with bills stacking up, she went to work while waiting on the test results.
“She said she’d go to work to see if they let her work, and she’s not home yet,” April said. “So I assume she’s going to work.”
Amazon said employees who feel the need to self-quarantine can use either paid or unpaid leave.