NORTH RANDALL, Ohio (WOIO) - While business has slowed or stopped all together for many companies, Amazon is hiring more employees to work at its fulfillment centers in Northeast Ohio and around the country. A local employee claims the billion-dollar company is not doing enough to protect its workers from the novel coronavirus.
She says on Friday all of the employees were notified that someone at the facility in North Randall had tested positive for COVID-19. She says they did not shutdown the warehouse at all, not even for a day to clean it and now she doesn't feel safe going to work, that's why she wanted to speak up.
When Cindy Cieza got a text during her shift at the Amazon fulfillment center Friday, telling her one of her co-workers had tested positive for the coronavirus, her heart sank.
“Half of the people walked out and the only thing that they did was bring other people from other floors to put in the stations that people had left from and at no time did they sanitize it,” Cieza said.
Cieza says while there is a cleaning company that is always at the warehouse, which is open 24/7.
“Yes, I see them,” she said. “They try to do as much as they can, but there’s traffic. This place does not shutdown."
She still thinks Amazon should have closed the fulfillment center, even if only for a day, to fully sanitize the facility.
“It’s such a big company are they really gonna be losing that much money? Is it worth more than the lives of the people?” Cieza asked.
Cieza says since Friday, some of the workers that walked out haven’t returned, but she has.
“I’m even afraid to really even do this interview but I have to speak out because I don’t know what I’m gonna face once this is put on TV,” Cieza said. “I’m pretty sure that a lot of people are not gonna be happy with me but someone has to speak up because I have to go to a place where I don’t feel safe and then I have to come home to my family. I’m gonna stand strong because I feel like this is something right. Someone has to speak up and say something because it’s gonna just continue. It’s not gonna stop. They have no plans in closing down that facility not even for a day to clean it properly."
19 News reached out to Amazon for a statement. Amazon spokesperson Timothy Carter said, “We are supporting the individual who is recovering. We are following guidelines from health officials and medical experts, and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site.”
Amazon tells us they did have an employee at that facility test positive for COVID-19. They did not answer us directly when we asked them if they had shut down their facility to clean it or if they planned to in the future, they did tell us they look at several factors when deciding how to handle the closure of a facility for deep cleaning. They said they look at where the employee was in the building, for how long, how much time has passed since they were onsite, and who they interacted with. Amazon also said they consult with medical experts and health authorities when making the decision to close a facility. Amazon says they have increased the frequency of cleanings at that site.
19 News reached out to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health to see what they think about whether Amazon should close their facility. We are waiting to hear back.