According to a report from The Intercept, workers from companies that include Amazon, Walmart, Instacart, Whole Foods, Target and FedEx will be walking out on Friday in an effort to force their employers to establish better safety standards, and give out more hazard pay, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Intercept adds that the employees' shared grievances stem from their companies acquiring record profits while they're the ones risking their health and safety.
A press release that's set to be published Wednesday states that the employees plan to either call in sick or walkout during their lunch break(s).
This May 1 strike (which is, not coincidentally, also set on International Worker's Day) will be the latest of several such demonstrations aimed at getting the attention of the public/higher-ups at these companies as the pandemic rages on.
Here, The Intercept sums up previous actions:
Amazon workers in New York City and more than 10,000 Instacart workers across the country staged a walkout. Whole Foods employees led a national sickout on March 31, while upwards of 800 workers skipped their shifts at a Colorado meatpacking plant as coronavirus cases were confirmed among employees. Sanitation workers in Pittsburgh and bus drivers in Detroit both staged wildcat strikes.
The series of moves comes at a time when these employees have a massive amount of leverage on account of the fact that several industries have been shutdown, temporarily or otherwise.
Ex-Amazon employee Christian Smalls shared a flyer a week ago that would appear to sum up the strike pretty well. Smalls, who's a lead organizer of this movement, was fired by Amazon on March 30 after leading employees at a Staten Island warehouse in a walkout protest. For their part, Amazon claims he was fired for violating its mandatory quarantine. Smalls has stated an intent to take legal action against the company:
Workers rights groups that are banding together for this latest effort had organized via Zoom calls and encrypted messaging apps.
This coalition will unveil demands that include: asking for compensation for time off dating back to the March beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, hazard and sick pay for the rest of the pandemic, protective equipment and cleaning supplies provided at all times by employers, and full transparency from companies regarding the amount of COVID cases at each facility.