The Amazon whistleblower who was fired after accusing the company of not being upfront with employees in regards to the coronavirus outbreak said Friday that management instructed him to stay quiet about a COVID-19 outbreak in the New York City warehouse where he worked.
Chris Smalls told SiriusXM's Breitbart News Tonight host Rebecca Mansour that the online retail giant did everything it could to keep production high — including not telling its employees what was happening.
Smalls said the warehouse was not prepared in early March to handle the outbreak because it lacked the proper protective gear that workers needed.
"I took some time off to protect myself, protect my family, my kids. After a while, I was like, no, this unpaid policy that Amazon's offering is basically you don't get paid time [off]. You can stay home as long as you want, but you don't get paid for it. It wasn't really an option for me. I had to pay my bills," he said.
Smalls added that when he came back on March 24, a colleague was sick and told him that she had been tested for COVID-19 the night before. She went home and later found out that she had the virus.
Two hours after the woman went home, Smalls said he was in a meeting about the virus.
"We had a management meeting, and that's where we learned about our first case. The [infected] associate was in the building on March 11, so I was expecting us to do what the Queens, New York, building did a week prior and close down, sanitize, send everybody home with pay, [and] everybody return back to work," he said.
"They didn't do that. They told me not to tell the employees. 'We don't want to cause a panic.' That was my last time working for Amazon right there."
Smalls added that he spent "eight hours a day" the rest of the week sitting in the cafeteria on his own time, not punched in, telling his co-workers about Amazon's alleged coverup of the virus and how the warehouse would not be cleaned. He organized a walkout at the Staten Island facility on May 30, after which he was fired for violating safety regulations.
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