California subpoenas Amazon over worker safety in pandemic

AP – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday asked a judge to order Amazon to comply with subpoenas his office issued nearly four months ago as part of an investigation into how the company protects workers from the coronavirus.

Becerra said the online sales giant hasn’t provided enough information on its safety steps and the status of infections and deaths at its shipping facilities across California. The attorney general is President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Health and Human Services Department; he’d be the first Latino in the post.

“We’re investigating because we got reports, information, complaints about conditions, incidents,” Becerra said. “We believe that it merits looking into Amazon’s protocols, practices, based on information that we have received.”

The court filing from Becerra lists media reports about three Amazon workers’ deaths but said the company mentioned none of them in its responses. It said he learned more about the company’s infection rate from its blog posts than from its subpoena responses.

The company did not respond to a request for comment left through an email provided for reporters. Amazon said in a statement to The Sacramento Bee that it is “a leader in providing COVID-19 safety measures for our employees — we’ve invested billions of dollars in equipment and technology, including building on-site testing for employees and providing personal protective equipment. We encourage anyone to compare our speed and actions in this area to any other major employer”.