Amazon announced plans to pay bonuses to employees who have worked on the frontlines throughout the coronavirus pandemic, which the company says will total over $500 million.
Throughout the pandemic, Amazon deliveries have become more valuable than ever, and delivery workers have put their health on the line every day so that consumers can shop from the safety of their homes.
NBC4’s I-Team took an exclusive tour of an Amazon warehouse in Eastvale, where employees have taken changes to their own health and safety protocols with grace. These measures include thermal imaging to detect fever and social distancing within warehouses. Employees have even dealt with COVID-19 infections in their own ranks and continued showing up for work.
An employee described making 130 deliveries per day, and how scary it was to be in contact with that many people.
Workers say they were previously being offered an extra $2 an hour – so called “hero pay” – but that ended recently.
After the “hero pay” ended, workers took to a Facebook page created by Amazon employees in the Inland Empire to express grievances.
“If we still have to get our temps taken and wear the mask, that $2 pay should still be in force,” one person wrote.
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“If Bezos is making billions, he can afford to pay us," another said.
Now Amazon announced it will contribute $500 million to one-time bonus payments to Amazon employees, Whole Foods Market employees, and Delivery Service Partner drivers and owners, which will range from $150 to $3,000, depending on workers’ status and hours.
The company calls this a thank you for their employees’ “remarkable commitment to customers.”
Many employees say this couldn’t come at a better time. With COVID-19 cases surging, they say their work is far from over.
More details on the bonus payments can be found here.