With the coronavirus pandemic highlighting the need for more stringent health and safety measures, Amazon has come under scrutiny for its treatment of warehouse workers, urging the company to take significant measures to placate employees, legislators, and the general public that it’s protecting workers.
The online retail behemoth has altered warehouse regulations to increase worker safety, offering additional benefits to workers who are on sick leave as well as create a relief fund for delivery contractors. However, workers at Worldwide Flight Services, which serves the Amazon’ Airfreight network and other carriers, explain that they are still bereft of many of the benefits provided to warehouse and delivery employees.
According to WFS workers, they were not offered bonuses, hourly wage increases, extra paid sick leave, or unlimited unpaid time off, although they continue to work grueling hours due to the pandemic. Employees accrue paid sick leave, enabling them to take a certain number of days off for illness, but once that time is exhausted, they must return to work.
Sanitary health concerns are also an issue to say WFS workers. According to the employees, managers aren’t controlling mask requirements and disinfectants such as hand sanitizer and soap are limited at facilities. At one WFS facility in Phoenix, safety concerns became so dire that a worker filed a complaint with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration authorities in June.
This situation is clearly an issue for Amazon, as the company’s cargo partners, like WFS, have played a key role in stabilizing the company so it can achieve its target of one-day and same-day delivery.
“These workers are vital,” said Cathy Morrow Roberson, founder of consulting firm Logistic Trends & Insights. “It’s like the connective tissue for your body, except they’re the connection between the airplane and the warehouse. Without them, packages would just be sitting in these facilities.”
Amazon spokeswoman Kate Kudrna said the company’s “first priority” is the health and safety of workers involved in its operations, adding that Amazon has provided WFS with face masks during the pandemic.
“All of our airline delivery providers must comply with the Amazon Supplier Code of Conduct and Federal Aviation Administration Regulations,” Kudrna said in a statement. “We take seriously any allegation that a delivery provider is not meeting those requirements and expectations, and review accordingly.”
For investors looking to use ETFs to participate in Amazon, which has rallied 1.31% Thursday, the following ETFs are worth exploring:
- Consumer Discretionary Select SPDR ETF (NYSEArca: XLY): seeks investment results that correspond to the price and yield performance of publicly traded equity securities of companies in the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector Index. The index includes securities of companies from the following industries: retail; hotels, restaurants and leisure; textiles, apparel, and luxury goods; household durables; automobiles; auto components; distributors; leisure products; and diversified consumer services.
- ProShares Online Retail ETF (NYSEArca: ONLN): seeks investment results, before fees and expenses, that track the performance of the ProShares Online Retail Index. The index tracks retailers that principally sell online or through other non-store channels. The index uses a modified market-capitalization weighted approach, is rebalanced monthly and is reconstituted annually.
- Fidelity MSCI Consumer Discretionary Index ETF (FDIS): seeks to provide investment returns that correspond generally to the performance of the MSCI USA IMI Consumer Discretionary Index. The index represents the performance of the consumer discretionary sector in the U.S. equity market.
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