NEW CASTLE, Del. (CBS) — Amazon is under fire by its own employees. A petition is criticizing the treatment of its warehouse workers during the pandemic and is calling for major changes.
Two former Amazon employees question working conditions during the pandemic, pointing to its history of payouts for alleged worker mistreatment prior to the outbreak.READ MORE: Brotherly Love: Zummo Bike Donating Refurbished Bikes To Montgomery County Kids For Seven Years Strong
“We weren’t properly prepared,” said Tatyana Smith, a former Amazon driver who worked at the New Castle facility.
Smith says she was attacked by a dog while making a delivery, leaving her with a broken wrist.
“Now I heard they do give a dog spray or mace or dog whistles, but that was after my incident,” Smith said.
She wonders how Amazon could protect current employees working on the frontlines of the pandemic, if she wasn’t protected during normal times.
So does Janet Thomas, another former Amazon employee who packaged orders at a warehouse near Harrisburg.
“The work conditions were somewhat horrible,” Thomas said.Only Part Of MLK Drive Will Reopen To Vehicles On Wednesday Due To Bridge Repairs
She dreaded long summer days with no air conditioning.
“The inside of the building was really hot, it didn’t have enough fans,” Thomas said.
Amazon denies a lack of air conditioning and said in a statement, “All of our fulfillment centers are built with climate control and the HVAC system is designed to keep associates comfortable and safe all year round.”
Both former employees have since settled with Amazon.
But their attorney, Sam Pond, believes some current workers are not getting proper protection, equipment and training during the pandemic, when they need it most.
“We have an abnormal working condition where people are going into a situation getting out of their bed, at Amazon, and maybe having their life at stake,” Pond said.
Amazon denies the allegations, but the retail giant also would not provide someone for an on-camera interview.
In a statement, the company said, in part, “In addition to tripling down on cleaning and sanitation, we’ve made over 150 significant process changes at sites around the world. Some of these changes include having critical supplies including masks, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer available for everyone to use, conducting daily employee temperature checks, and following mandatory social distancing.”MORE NEWS: Upper Merion School District: Teachers, Staff Must Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Or Routinely Get Tested
Eyewitness News also asked Amazon how many of its employees nationwide have tested positive for COVID-19. It didn’t say but the company is working to get all workers more gloves and masks.