The work was busy in his Sacramento warehouse. Other Amazon employees were excited to try to meet the continuous increase in requests that came during the epidemic. But David Gallagher, who was trained to check stock, simply sat in a makeshift break area and did nothing for 10 hours a day, a condition in order to continue cashing a paycheck.
Gallagher gets workers compensation after being injured in his warehouse and has a physician’s order to stay seated at all times. He previously worked as a nonprofit office job as part of an Amazon program that allowed employees to temporarily volunteer in their communities while still receiving salaries. When coronavirus infection began to increase in March, Gallagher said the program had stopped and called him in his warehouse.
With permission from Shannon Gallagher.
do what? Relax and surf the web on your phone, text your wife and socialize with a handful of other workers’ compensation employees in the same restroom doing the same for days. He sat in this comfort zone for two days a week, 10 hours a day, in the midst of a health crisis, for two months.
There was no supervision of these workers. There are no clearly defined tasks. The local HR office could not even explain Gallagher why he was required to attend.
At first glance, money for nothing may seem like a good thing, especially during the recession that left tens of millions of people unemployed. But Gallagher said he was concerned that the work could endanger his family’s health during the epidemic that has killed more than 110,000 Americans, many of them sick and elderly. The father of Gallagher’s son-in-law, who suffers from five heart attacks, suffers from diabetes and uses an oxygen tank most of the day, living with him.
So Gallagher repeatedly attempted to obtain an unpaid work permit, but was rejected twice. After the first denial resumed, it was forbidden again last Friday. The version was approved on Monday, two hours after CNET contacted Amazon.
“I thought it was a great company, until all this started to happen,” Gallagher said. “The way they did all this, and the way they treated me now, you know, this whole process, and this makes me see them in a completely different light.”
Gallagher is just an employee of Amazon’s extensive logistics network, which has more than 500 facilities in the U.S. The United States of America and 400,000 workers warehouse in the United States of America but it represents the chaos that Amazon throws during the Corona virus epidemic and how its mismanagement sometimes frustrated its employees and made them more vulnerable to infection.
Amazon delivery times have slowed for weeks due to millions of additional customer orders in the midst of quarantine. Warehouses have been fixed with over 150 new safety protocols, including provision of masks, gloves, hand sanitizer for workers, and the creation of social spaces in facilities. Amazon hired 175,000 new employees to handle the increase. Meanwhile, many existing workers used a new, unpaid free feature to stay at home.
Unpaid leave entitlement first started in March, then expired on May 1, and it was replaced on condition of applying for leave. Bloomberg reported last week that the Amazon Human Resources department is now struggling to keep up with employee demands during the epidemic, prompting workers like Gallagher to be left behind.
Gallagher’s story also adds to Amazon’s reputation for abuse of warehouse employees, with CNET and other publications mentioning worker injuries, active layoffs, and cruel treatment by managers. Many of these concerns faded during the epidemic, with a series of protests by workers in recent months that have called for improved warehouse protection against the virus and more risk-paying.
Meanwhile, Amazon often refers to generous benefit packages and a minimum wage of $ 15 as evidence of its positive employee relationship.
Gallagher and his wife, who also work for Amazon, were not involved in these labor protests and say they have nothing to do with active groups and unions that often criticize Amazon’s working conditions.
“These are unprecedented times, and we are working quickly to support our staff,” said Amazon spokeswoman Lisa Lewandowski. “At the beginning of the epidemic, we implemented major changes to allow for effective social distance, including the relocation of the workstation. Mr. Gallagher was assigned to a converted restroom. Like all companies, we continue to adapt quickly to support our teams.”
David, 52, and his wife Shannon Gallagher, 42, met on Match.com five years ago and got married two months later. They brought with them two children from all their previous marriage.
The similarities did not end there. David and Shannon were hired at the Sacramento warehouse in October 2017, one week later, shortly after the facility first opened. David was fired and looking for a new job after spending time in customer service.
Shannon has left a job serving Toyota customers. They were both keen to get away from the office and do something more energetic. They said the job was physically difficult but enjoyable.
Shannon was injured at work in February 2018. She was storing things on a conveyor belt when she broke her knee. Without much thought, he continued his role. The next day, his knee was swollen, but he was still on his way to work. After the injury bothered her, she visited a doctor a few weeks later and found that she had broken the meniscus cartilage.