“Every time you walk through the door, you’re taking a risk,” says one Amazon warehouse worker whose colleague recently tested positive for COVID-19. “I mean, what’s more important, getting people’s things to them or your health?”
Last week, Amazon announced that it would hire 100,000 new workers to handle the surge of orders fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos framed the company’s role in the crisis as an essential public resource. “We’re providing a vital service to people everywhere, especially to those, like the elderly, who are most vulnerable,” he wrote in a post on the company blog. “People are depending on us.” To sweeten the deal, the company said it would raise its minimum wage from $15 to $17. “We hope people who’ve been laid off will come work with us until they’re able to go back to the jobs they had,” Bezos wrote.