Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you make the most of staying home.
Visit the hub

A protester holds a sign outside an Amazon building in the Staten Island borough of New York on March 30, 2020.

JEENAH MOON/Reuters

Warehouse, delivery and retail gig workers in the United States went on strike on Monday to call attention to safety and wage concerns for people labouring through the coronavirus crisis.

Among the strikers were some of the roughly 200,000 workers at U.S. online grocery delivery company Instacart, according to strike organizer Gig Workers Collective, founded earlier this year by Instacart worker Vanessa Bain.

Fifteen workers at an Amazon.com Inc warehouse in Staten Island, New York, also walked off the job on Monday following reports of COVID-19 among the facility’s staff.

Story continues below advertisement

Amazon said later it fired an employee who helped organize the action for alleged violations of his employment, including leaving a paid quarantine to participate in the demonstration. New York’s attorney general said her office was “considering all legal options” in response to the firing, citing the right to organize in the state.

Workers have also protested in other countries. Dozens of Amazon workers at a facility near Florence, Italy, went on strike on Monday.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said last week that pressure on Amazon employees to work despite inadequate protections was “unacceptable.”

From delivery drivers to grocery store clerks, shelf stockers and fast-food employees, workers have kept food and essential goods flowing to people who have been told by their governments to stay home to stop the spread of coronavirus.

More than 738,500 people have been infected across the world and about 35,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, said it has taken “extreme measures” to clean buildings and obtain safety gear and that “the vast majority of employees continue to show up and do the heroic work of delivering for customers every day.” Less than half a per cent of its more than 5,000-person work force at the Staten Island site protested, it said.

In statements on Monday, Amazon disputed comments from one of the striking Staten Island employees, Christian Smalls, who had accused the company of mishandling warehouse operations after a confirmed case of coronavirus.

Story continues below advertisement

Amazon said Smalls was on a paid quarantine after having close contact with a diagnosed worker, and had “received multiple warnings for violating social distancing guidelines,” leading to his dismissal.

Smalls responded in a statement distributed by Athena, a labour and activist coalition.

“I’m going to keep speaking up. My colleagues in New York and all around the country are going to keep speaking up. We won’t stop until Amazon provides real protections for our health and safety,” he said.

Letitia James, the New York Attorney General, issued a statement calling the firing “disgraceful” and also asked the National Labor Relations Board to investigate. Amazon did not immediately return a request for comment on the attorney general’s statement.

HAZARD PAY, SANITIZER

San Francisco-based Instacart – which lets customers place online orders from grocers, retailers like Costco Wholesale Corp and CVS Health Corp’s CVS Pharmacy – said in a statement that the strike of its contractors had “absolutely no impact to Instacart’s operations.”

On Monday, Instacart said it had 40% more shoppers on the platform than on the same day last week and sold more groceries in the last 72 hours than ever before.

Story continues below advertisement

“The health and safety of our entire community – shoppers, customers, and employees – is our first priority,” it said in a statement.

It was not clear how many Instacart workers were participating in the strike, Bain told Reuters. Bain has created a Facebook group with 15,000 members. She said hundreds more have reached out to her in light of Monday’s campaign.

In posts on social media, people who said they were Instacart workers demanded hazard pay to account for the dangers of working while most people stay home to comply with state, local and federal government guidance.

They also asked for the company to provide hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and soap to clean their cellphones, cars and shopping carts.

“We don’t have to have 100 per cent participation to … force Instacart to manoeuvre on these issues,” Bain said in a phone interview.

Instacart said on March 23 that it wanted to hire another 300,000 gig workers because of a surge in demand.

Story continues below advertisement

Staff in one supermarket of French retailer Carrefour will receive protective masks after some walked out over health risks, a union said on Monday.

Employees of McDonald’s Corp, as well as people who said they worked at Walmart Inc, supermarket chain Harris Teeter, Waffle House, Family Dollar and Food Lion, boycotted work at North Carolina locations on Friday.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies