Amazon workers call on officials to take action about Shakopee warehouse health conditions

Several workers at Amazon’s Shakopee warehouse are calling on elected officials to take action after it was revealed that more than 80 employees at the site have tested positive for COVID-19.

“They are hiding the cases from us,” said Jamal Omer. “They don’t inform us.”

In a video teleconference, Omer was among several Amazon employees to speak out about working conditions in the midst of the pandemic.

“What happened to me I don’t want to happen to anybody,” said Omer.

Omer was diagnosed with COVID-19 in May. According to state health officials, of the roughly 1,000 workers at the facility, at least 88 have tested positive. Omer said worker safety doesn’t appear to be a priority.

“I don’t force anyone to put a face mask on. I don’t have that power. So, for that reason, I refuse to go to work. I refuse,” said Omer.

Among several safety measures, Amazon workers are provided with face masks and text message alerts about confirmed cases. Still, some feel the company is trying to hide or downplay the extent of the spread of the virus within its warehouses.

“I really think it’s time to have Tim Walz, the Governor, to step in and pressure Amazon to temporarily close down and, of course, pay the workers,” said William Stoltz.

In response, Amazon released a statement.

“Over the months of COVID-19 thousands of employees and partners have worked out at our Shakopee site and we believe strongly people are not spreading the virus at work given the robust safety measures we’ve put into place,” said Jen Crowcroft, an Amazon spokesperson.

State health officials say that nearly 100 workers at Amazon sites have tested positive for COVID-19. Some people have been hospitalized, but so far, no deaths have been reported.