Wilson amazon

Marnie Wilson, an Amazon employee who has worked at the fulfillment center in Shakopee for four years, moves boxes to the correct spot.

Amazon is hiring 600 employees in Minnesota to fulfill picking, packing and shipping and delivery, according to a recent press release. Shakopee is home to a fulfillment center. 

Amazon’s hiring surge in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a source of contention across the nation, as employees have asked for more protections, including paid sick leave for at-risk staff members, screening for anyone entering the building and masks for all employees.

On April 2, Amazon announced it would distribute masks to all its employees and take the temperature of anyone entering its warehouses to work.

Amazon is offering unlimited, unpaid time off for employees who don’t feel comfortable reporting to work during the pandemic. If an associate is diagnosed, or “presumptively diagnosed,” the company said it would give them extra paid sick time.

Employees at New York’s Staten Island Amazon location walked off their jobs March 30 after widespread concerns that Amazon isn’t doing enough to protect the health and safety of workers, their families, customers, and community and public health. A petition released this month by a third-party Amazon worker's group called Athena, demanded Amazon address those concerns. The petition has garnered more than 4,000 signatures and called on Amazon to provide every worker with paid leave to stay home if they need to, and explain what the company would do if COVID-19 disrupts their operations.

Amazon said it's doing everything it can to protect its employees while providing essential items to its customers. The company said in a press release that it's contacting people who have been in close contact with a diagnosed individual and allowing them to quarantine for 14 days with pay.

“We continue to evaluate all options to ensure the support of our teams during this unprecedented time,” the company said. 

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.


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