A worker at an Amazon facility in California has died after contracting covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Thus far, workers at more than 70 of Amazon’s warehousing and delivery facilities have confirmed cases of covid-19.
Amazon confirmed that the individual, an operations manager at the DLA8 facility in Hawthorne, California, named Gerard Tuzara, died of coronavirus on March 31, over two weeks ago, Business Insider first reported. A former Air Force officer, Tuzara died less than a week after being hospitalized. The company alleges Tuzara contracted the disease while on vacation in Mexico and had not been in contact with other DLA8 workers since March 6. Amazon told Gizmodo in an email that the company notified all DLA8 employees on March 31.
In a statement emailed to Gizmodo, an Amazon spokesperson said: “We are saddened by the passing of a member of our management team in Hawthorne, California. His family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting his fellow colleagues.”
Belated news of Tuzara’s death comes after several Amazon’s warehouse worker strikes have rattled the company—the demands of such actions largely being better consideration for the realities of working during this health crisis, like more thorough cleanings after confirmed cases and hazard pay.
It also follows Amazon’s very public firing of four employees agitating around the obvious risks warehousing work entails now. First was warehouse strike organiser Chris Smalls, whom the company considered targeting with a smear campaign designed to portray him as “not smart or articulate.” Today, we learned two user experience designers—Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa—were also fired last week for speaking out and raising money to support warehousing workers. And finally, Bashir Mohammed, a warehouse worker at the Minnesota’s infamous MSP1 facility, was laid off for what he believes was attempting to organise his colleagues.