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After Amazon introduced it fired a employee at its Staten Island, N.Y., warehouse after he helped arrange a walkout over its coronavirus responses, New York Metropolis Mayor Invoice de Blasio mentioned he was calling for an investigation into the Jeff Bezos-led tech big.
“The allegation is as a result of he spoke up for the security of his fellow employees, he was fired. I’ve ordered town’s Fee on Human Rights to analyze Amazon instantly to find out if that’s true,” de Blasio mentioned at a Tuesday press convention. “In that case, that may be a violation of our metropolis human rights regulation, and we might act on it instantly.”
Fox Information has reached out to each Amazon and the fired employee, Christian Smalls, with a request for touch upon de Blasio’s announcement.
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Smalls had demanded that the Jeff Bezos-led firm shut its Staten Island success middle for a deep cleansing after a employee examined constructive for COVID-19 in mid-March. Smalls, together with allegedly greater than 100 employees, walked off the job at about 12:30 p.m. Monday, the New York Put up reported.
“There’s 10 instances confirmed right here and the media solely is aware of about one,” Smalls instructed the information outlet. “They must shut this down. That is all we would like.”
In a earlier assertion to Fox Information, Amazon mentioned it had terminated Smalls as a result of he violated a number of phrases of his employment.
“Mr. Smalls acquired a number of warnings for violating social distancing pointers and placing the security of others in danger,” the spokesman mentioned. “He was additionally discovered to have had shut contact with a identified affiliate with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and was requested to stay dwelling with pay for 14 days, which is a measure we’re taking at websites all over the world. Regardless of that instruction to remain dwelling with pay, he got here onsite right this moment, March 30, additional placing the groups in danger. That is unacceptable and now we have terminated his employment because of these a number of questions of safety.”
Following the information that Smalls was fired, New York Legal professional Basic Letitia James issued a press release, saying “it’s disgraceful” the corporate terminated Smalls, who “bravely stood as much as defend himself and his colleagues.”
“In New York, the proper to prepare is codified into regulation, and any retaliatory motion by administration associated thereto is strictly prohibited,” James continued. “At a time when so many New Yorkers are struggling and are deeply involved about their security, this motion was additionally immoral and inhumane. The Workplace of the Legal professional Basic is contemplating all authorized choices, and I’m calling on the Nationwide Labor Relations Board to analyze this incident.”
A supply acquainted with Amazon famous the corporate has boosted its pay on the Staten Island success middle, in addition to its different success facilities, giving employees an extra $2 per hour on high of the common wages on the facility, which vary between $17.50 and $23 an hour. Additionally they obtain double time for extra time and the corporate just lately instituted day by day temperature screenings on the success middle, which homes some 2,500 workers.
Earlier this month, a gaggle of 4 U.S. senators, together with Bernie Sanders I-Vt. and Cory Booker, D-N.J., wrote a letter to Bezos expressing their concern in regards to the well being and security of Amazon warehouse employees. Democratic presidential candidate Sanders has been a vocal critic of Amazon.
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New York State and, particularly, New York Metropolis, have been the hardest-hit areas within the U.S. because the nation grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, although there may be proof the unfold of the virus is likely to be slowing, due to aggressive actions taken by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
As of Wednesday morning, there are 76,049 instances of COVID-19 in New York State, together with 43,119 in New York Metropolis alone. Of these 76,049, 1,714 folks have died, 1,096 in New York Metropolis. Instances in New York State make up 40.1 p.c of instances within the U.S., and solely seven nations – the U.S., Italy, Spain, China, Germany, France and Iran – have extra instances than New York Metropolis.
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Fox Information’ Vicki Choi, Gillian Turner and Lissa Kaplan contributed to this story.