Amazon Rallies Amid Improved Worker Safety Measures | ETF Trends

With recent concerns over its health practices and protections for workers, Amazon will start screening some warehouse employees for coronavirus symptoms as they head into work, improving efforts aimed at strengthening coronavirus safety measures at the company’s facilities.

“Beginning this week we’re introducing a symptom screen at our entrances in accordance with guidance from local authorities,” said a notice the company sent to workers states. “Moving forward, when you arrive for your shift you will read signs listing potential Covid-19 symptoms as you enter the building.”

If workers don’t report any coronavirus symptoms, staff will scan their badge, undergo a temperature check, and enter the building as normal, the notice said.

However, if workers express that they are experiencing symptoms of the virus, they ’ll be asked to “return home out of caution and receive a Covid-19 test,” according to one notice sent to Michigan workers.

Amazon has altered a number of 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. Just recently, however, workers at Worldwide Flight Services, which serve the Amazon’ Airfreight network and other carriers, explained that they are still bereft of many of the benefits provided to warehouse and delivery employees.

“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.”

Amazon commenced checking workers’ temperatures and requiring face masks at warehouses in April and is also pursuing contact tracing when it identifies positive cases, by reviewing camera footage to identify anyone who came into contact with individuals who’ve tested positive, along with interviewing infected individuals.

Despite these measures, warehouse workers have continued to critique Amazon’s response to the pandemic, claiming the online retail behemoth hasn’t done enough to maintain staff safety.

Amazon plans to test warehouse workers on the frontlines, adding tasing sites to a plethora of warehouses after CEO Jeff Bezos said in April that the company would soon begin “regular testing of all Amazonians, including those showing no symptoms.”

For investors looking to use ETFs to participate in Amazon, which is up 0.18% Thursday in a largely declining broader market backdrop, the following ETFs are worth exploring:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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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