United Kingdom

Whole Foods workers plan 'sick out', GE staff protest and Amazon fires worker who organized walkout

Whole Foods on Tuesday slammed workers who staged a 'sick out' protest at working conditions while their 'heroic colleagues showed up to provide essential services' during the corona virus outbreak. 

A spokesman for the Jeff Bezos owned grocery store told DailyMail.com they 'have seen no operational impact'.

But they added: 'It is disappointing that a small but vocal group, many of whom are not employed by Whole Foods Market, have been given a platform to inaccurately portray the collective voice of our 95,000+ Team Members who are heroically showing up every day to provide our communities with an essential service.'  

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday he had ordered the city’s human rights commissioner to investigate the dismissal of a worker at a Bezos owned Amazon.com warehouse who had participated in a walkout. 

He said: 'I’ve ordered the city’s commission on human rights to investigate Amazon immediately to determine if that’s true. If so, that would be a violation of our city’s human rights law and we would act on it immediately.'

The New York state attorney general Letitia James had earlier called Chris Smalls' dismissal 'disgraceful' and pointed out that the law protects employees' right to protest. 

'At a time when so many New Yorkers are struggling and are deeply concerned about their safety, this action was also immoral and inhumane,' she said in a statement. 

Amazon said fired Smalls made 'misleading' statements about conditions and that he was supposed to be in quarantine and had no choice but to fire him after he came to the facility. 

There are now more than 180,000 confirmed coronavirus cases across the nation; the death toll stands at 3,699, surpassing China which has recorded 3,309 deaths. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, said on Tuesday he had ordered the city’s human rights commissioner to investigate the dismissal of Amazon worker Chris Smalls, right

Whole Foods workers are set to strike Tuesday, with a nationwide 'sick out'. A Whole Foods in  Manhattan is pictured 

Customers stand on line outside Whole Foods Market located at the corner of West 125th Street and Malcom X Boulevard in Harlem, New York, on March 31

Warehouse, delivery and retail gig workers in the United States went on strike on Monday and Tuesday to call attention to safety and wage concerns for people laboring through the coronavirus crisis. 

Unemployment in the United States hit a record high last week with 3.28million people - four times the previous record of 695,000 in October 1982 - making claims. Dow Jones say a further 2.65 million may join them this week.  

Attorney General James said she was exploring options for legal recourse regarding Smalls' firing and had asked the National Labor Relations Board to investigate the incident.  

Father-of-three, Smalls, 31, a management assistant at the Staten Island facility, said he was laid off from his job following Monday's strike. He had worked for the company for five years.

Amazon say 15 others joined the walkout at the New York facility demanding that it be shut down and cleaned after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus.  

Whole Foods on Tuesday slammed workers who staged a 'sick out' protest at working conditions while their 'heroic colleagues showed up to provide essential services' during the corona virus outbreak. A Whole Foods in Manhattan is pictured Tuesday 

Some workers at Whole Foods, also owned by billionaire Bezos, staged a nationwide 'sick out' Tuesday to bring attention to safety and wage concerns for people laboring through the coronavirus crisis. It is not known how many Whole Foods employees called in sick.

At two locations in New York, there were no apparent disruptions. At stores in Harlem and the East Village neighborhoods, customers were shopping while clerks where restocking shelves and ringing up purchases. 

Pictures show customers waiting in line outside the store to observe social distacning.  

Bezos, the world's richest man, made $3.4billion selling shares of the company in February, just before the market tanked as coronavirus infections soared. 

General Electric workers have also staged their own silent protest -  demanding that they now make the much needed ventilators in its jet engine factories.    

Whole Foods workers are set to strike Tuesday, with a nationwide 'sick out'

Workers say the company 'has still not provided essential protections' during the coronavirus outbreak which has seen some workers become ill

AMAZON WORKERS WALK OUT IN PROTEST

Amazon warehouse workers walked off the job Monday demanding greater safeguards against the coronavirus. 

The one-day strikes had little impact on consumers, but the unrest called attention to mounting discontent among low-wage workers. 

They are on the front lines of the pandemic, serving the needs of those who can keep safe working from home.

WHOLE FOODS EMPLOYEES CALL IN 'SICK' TO STRIKE

Whole Worker, a workers group for Whole Foods employees, called for a nationwide 'sick out' on Tuesday.

They want hazard pay, immediate shut down of stores if a worker tests positive and health care benefits for part-time and seasonal workers. 

Fired Amazon worker Smalls told The New York Post: 'They pretty much retaliated against me for speaking out. I don't know how they sleep at night.' 

'There are positive cases working in these buildings infecting thousands,' warehouse worker Smalls wrote on Twitter.  

Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, said it has taken 'extreme measures' to clean buildings and obtain safety gear and that 'the vast majority of employees continue to show up and do the heroic work of delivering for customers every day.' 

Less than half a percent of its more than 5,000-person workforce at the Staten Island site protested, it said.   

INSTACART SHOPPERS DEMAND PROTECTIVE GEAR AND MORE PAY

A group called the Gig Workers Collective called for a nationwide walk-out Monday. 

They've been asking Instacart to provide workers with hazard pay and protective gear, among other demands. 

Instacart said Sunday it would soon provide workers with a new hand sanitizer upon request and outlined changes to its tip system. 

The group said the measures were too little too late.

GE WORKERS DEMAND TO HELP MAKE VENTILATORS

General Electric workers are demanding that they now make the much needed ventilators in its jet engine factories. 

Workers at GE in Lynn, Massachusetts, held a silent protest, standing six feet apart, VICE reports. 

They joined employees at the headquarters in Boston calling on the company to make ventilators. 

CWA President Chris Shelton said: 'Our country depends on these highly skilled workers and now they’re wondering why they are facing layoffs instead of having the opportunity to use their unbelievable skills to help save lives.' 

From delivery drivers to grocery store clerks, shelf stockers and fast-food employees, workers have kept food and essential goods flowing to people who have been told by their governments to stay home to stop the spread of coronavirus. 

A group calling itself 'Whole Worker' said it was seeking guaranteed paid leave for quarantined Whole Foods workers, among other things. 

Among the strikers Monday were some of the roughly 200,000 workers at online grocery delivery company Instacart, according to strike organizer Gig Workers Collective, founded earlier this year by Instacart worker Vanessa Bain.  

Workers at GE in Lynn, Massachusetts, held a silent protest, standing six feet apart, VICE reports. 

They joined employees at the headquarters in Boston calling on the company to make ventilators. 

General Electric has fired nearly 2,600 workers, along with further 'temporary' layoffs. The company said: 'GE is working around the clock to increase production of much-needed medical equipment. GE Healthcare has already doubled ventilator production capacity, with a plan to double it again by June, in addition to partnering with Ford Motor Company to further increase ventilator production.'

Cleaners at WeWork have been instructed to use their paid leave or limited sick days if they become ill, The Guardian reports. 

They must continue to work in the meantime.  

It was not clear how many Instacart workers were participating in the strike.

The San Francisco-based company - which lets customers place online orders from grocers, retailers like Costco Wholesale Corp and CVS Health Corp's CVS Pharmacy - said in a statement that the strike of its contractors had 'absolutely no impact to Instacart's operations.'

On Monday, Instacart said it had 40 per cent more shoppers on the platform than on the same day last week and sold more groceries in the last 72 hours than ever before.

In posts on social media, people who said they were Instacart workers demanded hazard pay to account for the dangers of working while most people stay home to comply with state, local and federal government guidance.

They also asked for the company to provide hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and soap to clean their cell phones, cars and shopping carts.     

AS AMAZON AND WHOLE FOODS WORKERS STRIKE OWNER JEFF BEZOS POCKETS $3.4 BILLION BY SELLING STOCK

Jeff Bezos made $3.4billion selling shares of the company in February

Amazon staff say they are struggling to access sick pay and fear colleagues are coming to work ill - as they paint a grim picture of coronavirus protections inside warehouses where 'everything has been touched by 1,000 hands.'

The online retail giant has increased pay and offered sick leave to anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus, but critics accuse the $1trillion company and owner Jeff Bezos of failing to do enough - just weeks after he pocketed $3.4billion by selling stock.

Bezos, the world's richest man, made $3.4billion selling shares of the company in February, just before the market tanked as coronavirus infections soared.

The sale saved Bezos a staggering $317million, compared to him keeping the stock through to March 20.

It also meant the billionaire sold as much stock in that one week as he has in the last year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

 The sale accounted for around 3% of Bezos's total Amazon shares, and made up over a third of all stock exchange sales during this timeframe.

 Bezos has also suggested that Amazon may be the solution to getting 'easy-to-access' COVID-19 test kits to people across the world after conversations he had with administrators in the World Health Organization. 

In an Instagram post last week, the Amazon CEO shared that he had had a good call with WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom. 

The announcement comes as workers from facilities across the US have tested positive for coronavirus.

'This isn't business as usual, and it's a time for great stress and uncertainty. It's also a moment in time when the work we're doing is its most critical,' the billionaire wrote in the memo shared on his Instagram. 

Bezos said: 'Across the world, people are feeling the economic effects of this crisis, and I'm sad to tell you I predict things are going to get worse before they get better.' 

Amazon workers at Amazon's Staten Island warehouse went on strike to demand that the facility be shut down and cleaned after one staffer tested positive for the coronavirus

A model A-E ventilator and a simple test lung, on display at a plant in Rawsonville, Michigan

The New York state attorney general has threatened to sue Jeff Bezos-owned Amazon for firing the worker who organized a walkout over conditions on Monday

'Like all businesses grappling with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we are working hard to keep employees safe while serving communities and the most vulnerable,' Amazon said in a statement on Smalls' firing. 

'We have taken extreme measures to keep people safe.' 

The company said Amazon's firing of Small was due to his failure to comply with the company's request that he self-isolate after he came in contact with another employee who tested positive for COVID-19.

By taking part in Monday's demonstration, he put 'the teams at risk. This is unacceptable,' Amazon said in a statement, noting that only 15 of the more than 5,000 employees at the site had taken part in the protest. 

Seven workers have fallen sick with the coronavirus at the Amazon plant in NYC 

The workers allege the online retail giant has mishandled its response to the pandemic and want the entire facility to be disinfected and sanitized

Instacart, which shares the same complex as Amazon in Staten Island recently announced plans to hire some 300,000 people to help meet demand for grocery delivery, said in a statement it was 'fully operational' and that the walkout caused 'no impact.'

'We're continuing to see the highest customer demand in Instacart history and have more active shoppers on our platform today than ever before picking and delivering groceries for millions of consumers,' said the San Francisco company, which operates in some 5,500 cities in the US and Canada. 

The firm said Sunday it would provide additional health and safety supplies to full-service 'shoppers' and would set a 'default' tip based on customers' prior orders.

The labor group, whose numbers were not known, called the Instacart moves 'a sick joke.'

'We had been asking for hand sanitizer for many, many weeks. But apparently the company is capable of sourcing some with two days of work? Where was this before,' the group said in a Medium post.  

With much of the US population locked down, Americans are increasingly relying on delivery of food and other supplies from firms like Amazon.

7-Eleven, the National Guard and KPMG lead U.S. with most job openings

7-Eleven, the National Guard and KPMG are helping lead the U.S. economy in its battle against the coronavirus pandemic. 

They now have the most job offerings for those looking for work, with supermarkets and accountancy firms in need of more staff to meet demand. 

Companies with most job openings in the U.S.

7-Eleven

Army National Guard

KPMG

Amazon

Genentech

Lowe’s

HCA Healthcare

Intuit

Nepris

Whole Foods 

Source: Vox 

A report by NBC News said Amazon workers at two Southern California warehouses had presented demands to shut down the facilities for two weeks for sterilization while employees are tested for the virus.

Amazon has announced plans to hire an additional 100,000 people in the US, while rival Walmart is seeking to expand its workforce by 150,000.

Coronavirus job losses could reach 47 MILLION as Macy's furloughs most of its 130,000 employees WITHOUT pay and companies continue to lay off workers 

Coronavirus job losses in the United States could hit 47 million, with unemployment at more than 30 per cent, according to stark new estimates by a Federal Reserve. 

The shocking prediction by the Fed's St. Louis district project came as Macy's announced it will furlough a majority of its 130,000 workers.

The retail giant on Monday said it is transitioning to an 'absolute minimum workforce' needed to maintain basic operations. 

It says it will temporarily stop paying tens of thousands of employees who were thrown out of work when the chain closed its stores in response to collapsing sales during the pandemic.

St. Louis Fed economist Miguel Faria-e-Castro said of the unemployment estimates: 'These are very large numbers by historical standards, but this is a rather unique shock that is unlike any other experienced by the U.S. economy in the last 100 years.' 

People wait in line for help with unemployment benefits at the One-Stop Career Center in Las Vegas. A record-high number of people applied for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs engulfed the U.S in the face of a near-total economic shutdown caused by coronavirus

Online operations for the country's largest department store chain won't be hit as hard.

Employees who are enrolled in health benefits will continue to receive coverage with the company covering 100 per cent of the premium.

Unemployment in the United States hit a record high last week with 3.28million people - four times the previous record - making claims. Dow Jones say a further 2.65 million may join them this week. 

The new estimates of 47 million unemployed do not account for the bailout bill signed by President Donald Trump last week, CNBC reports. It does also not account for those who leave the labor force.

Macy's is furloughing most of its 130,000 workers beginning this week as its sales have collapsed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The New York flagship store is pictured 

Football news:

Barca defender Miranda is of Interest to Borussia Gladbach, Juventus, Betis, Porto and PSV
Tataev was our best player in both games. The coach of mladá Boleslav on the own goals of Alexis
Gianni Infantino: I have Heard Interesting proposals about the salary ceiling, limiting the amount of transactions, creating a reserve Fund
Herta Darida's midfielder ran 14.65 km in the game against Borussia Dortmund. This is a Bundesliga record
Neuer on the action black Lives matter: We are tolerant, open to the world and there should be no barriers to this
Milan and Inter are monitoring Benfica defender Araujo
Russian defender Tata scored an own goal in the second match in a row for mladá Boleslav