Walmart and Amazon truck drivers say their employers haven't provided guidance about how to deal with coronavirus

  • Amazon has advised its 798,000 employees against “non-essential travel” in the US and globally.[1] Walmart issued a memo for its 1.5 million US employees on Friday[2] on coronavirus concerns, and the company advised employees to talk to their manager if they need to travel.  
  • However, truck drivers for Walmart and Amazon told Business Insider that they have not received dedicated communication on how to prevent coronavirus given the unique demands of their jobs — which includes daily travel and interaction with imported goods.
  • A Walmart spokesperson confirmed that its 9,000 company truck drivers have not received specific communication, and referred Business Insider to its Friday memo. Amazon did not provide a comment in time for publication.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories[3].

Truck drivers who move loads for Walmart and Amazon told Business Insider that they have not received communication from their companies on how to navigate the outbreak. These truckers include Walmart and Amazon company truck drivers, as well as contract truck drivers for Amazon.

Both retailers have massive, internal transportation networks to move the goods Americans order online or buy in-store every day.  Each company has, however, communicated more broadly to employees about coronavirus.  Walmart issued a memo for its 1.5 million US employees on Friday[4] on coronavirus concerns, and advised employees to talk to their manager if they need to travel.

Amazon told its global workforce of nearly 800,000 on Friday[5] to avoid “non-essential travel” domestically and internationally. Among its sprawling operations team, senior vice president Dave Clark advised employees to not schedule meetings requiring travel until April, The New York Times reported[6]. Still, truck drivers have unique workplace demands, which they say haven’t been met by these internal communications.

They are required to travel around the US each day for work.  Walmart is the largest retailer in the US with £388 billion in retail sales, according to the most recent data from the National Retail Federation[7]. With £121 billion in retail sales, NRF ranked Amazon as the country’s No.

2 largest retailer.  A Walmart spokesperson confirmed that its 9,000 company truck drivers have not received specific communication, and referred Business Insider to its Friday memo[8]. Amazon did not provide a comment in time for publication.

“We haven’t heard anything from anybody,” a truck driver for Walmart, who did not want his name published for fear of retribution, told Business Insider. “I’m not too concerned about it,” the driver added. “I police myself with washing my hands, not shaking as many hands, using hand sanitizer.” 

truck driver J. Pat Carter/AP

Truck drivers for Walmart do not handle freight.

However, the company and contract truck drivers who move your Prime packages for Amazon expressed in interviews that they were concerned about handling packages, many of which may have been manufactured in China. One Amazon truck driver, who is employed by the company, said he’s concerned that the employees at his transportation center aren’t washing their hands before handling packages. “Mainly, you got younger people, and you can tell everyone wash their hands and not touch their eyes all day long,” the driver, who did not want his name published for fear of retribution, said. “They aren’t going to do it.”

That Amazon truck driver and another Amazon driver shared that they are following internet and television news to learn what is happening with coronavirus. One expressed confusion that Amazon, for whom he is a contractor, should have communicated to him about the outbreak.  “I am concerned about the virus, just taking all precautions to stay safe,” one truck driver, who did not want his name published for fear of retribution, who moves Amazon goods as a contractor. 

As of March 2, there are more than 90,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide. More than 3,000 have died, including six in the US[9]Are you a truck driver for Amazon or Walmart?

Email the reporter at [email protected]

References

  1. ^ “non-essential travel” in the US and globally. (www.businessinsider.com)
  2. ^ on Friday (www.businessinsider.com)
  3. ^ Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories (www.businessinsider.com)
  4. ^ on Friday (www.businessinsider.com)
  5. ^ on Friday (www.businessinsider.com)
  6. ^ The New York Times reported (www.nytimes.com)
  7. ^ according to the most recent data from the National Retail Federation (nrf.com)
  8. ^ referred Business Insider to its Friday memo (www.businessinsider.com)
  9. ^ including six in the US (www.businessinsider.com)

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