Food-delivery and warehouse workers face increased concerns about health, safety

Rob Hayes Image
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Essential workers on front lines facing increased stress, health worries
EMBED <>More Videos

Non-medical workers such as food delivery drivers and Amazon warehouse employees feel like they are at increased danger of exposure to coronavirus.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- They're on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic: Not just the medical workers and emergency responders, but "essential" employees including store clerks and delivery drivers, who are facing increased stress and safety concerns.

Every time someone orders something on Amazon or DoorDash, someone has to deliver it. Now, amid the coronavirus outbreak some workers believe their companies need to do more to keep them healthy.

"Basically, I'm playing Russian Roulette every time I go out there. Every time I shop, every time I come into a grocery store," said DoorDash employee Denise Johnson of Santa Monica.

Instacart workers are threatening to strike. They want the company to provide hand sanitizer and disinfectants, hazard pay of $5 per order and an expansion to the current sick-pay policy.

Instacart tells Eyewitness News, "The health and safety of our entire community - shoppers, customers and employees - is our first priority."

The company is working to distribute new health and safety supplies to its full-service shoppers and has changed the default tipping standard, hoping it will lead to higher tips for shoppers.

Amazon is also facing employees unhappy with coronavirus-related health issues.

Some of the company's warehouse workers in New York walked off the job Monday, demanding the company close and disinfect the facility after multiple workers there were diagnosed with COVID-19.

They also want more paid sick leave.

Amazon says it's working hard to keep workers safe by tripling down on deep-cleaning facilities and temperature-checking employees at that New York warehouse.

Meantime other food delivery workers are still toughing through the pandemic. Denise Johnson says she's been rigorous about keeping healthy practices.

"Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize in-between. I wear a new pair of gloves every time I pick up a new order," Johnson said.

A massive Amazon warehouse in Eastvale, Calif., has also seen at least one case of COVID-19. The company says it has stepped up deep-cleaning and physical-distancing measures at that facility.