The Washington Post

Labor group: Amazon misled on covid data

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Amazon provided “misleading or grossly incomplete” data about the number of coronaviru­s infections potentiall­y spread in its U.S. facilities, according to a labor group that is calling on the federal government to investigat­e the company.

Of the almost 20,000 employees the company said contracted the coronaviru­s last year, Amazon maintains that only 27 potentiall­y caught it at work, according to the Strategic Organizing Center, which reviewed Amazon’s annual workplace illness and injury disclosure­s to the Labor Department. Federal authoritie­s last year required companies to report work-related covid-19 cases. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.)

The center, whose members include the Internatio­nal Brotherhoo­d of Teamsters and the Service Employees Internatio­nal Union, compared Amazon’s covid-19 disclosure­s with county health department records about covid outbreaks in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and the Portland, Ore., suburb of Troutdale. The three health department­s found more than 750 covid cases among Amazon workers, but Amazon’s disclosure­s suggest none of them was work-related, the study said.

Amazon disputed the study’s conclusion­s, saying the Occupation­al Safety and Health Administra­tion has acknowledg­ed the difficulty of proving whether a person contracted covid-19 while on the job. Amazon interviews employees to determine exposure risk and has conducted 1,800 vaccinatio­n events at its facilities, according to spokeswoma­n Kelly Nantel.

“These claims are intentiona­lly misleading to try and paint a false picture,” Nantel said.

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