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Could Coronavirus Help Amazon Workers Unionize?

Former Amazon employee, Christian Smalls, stands with fellow demonstrators during a protest outside of an Amazon warehouse as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in the Staten Island borough of New York U.S., May 1, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson By Nandita Bose and Krystal Hu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Warehouse employees last month staged a walkout in Michigan to demand safer working conditions at their facility. So did workers in New York, Illinois and Minnesota.

These and other Amazon.com Inc employees across the country are seizing on the coronavirus to demand the world’s largest online retailer offer more paid sick time and temporarily shut warehouses with infections for deep cleaning.

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Employees in at least 11 states this year have voiced their concerns and staged actions to highlight a variety of purported workplace deficiencies, allegations the company has denied.

Supporting these Amazon workers are labor groups and unions eager to penetrate the Seattle-based behemoth after years of failed attempts to unionize its operations.

Reuters spoke with 16 unions and labor groups targeting Amazon. They included established organizations such as the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and the Retail, Wholesale and Department […]

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