- Amazon used to offer onsite testing for warehouse workers but phased out the program last year.
- Now, some Amazon warehouse workers say they have problems finding tests on their own.
- The US is facing a shortage of COVID-19 tests due to a surge in the Omicron variant.
Some US Amazon warehouse workers say they are struggling to find COVID-19 tests amid the current surge in Omicron cases, NBC News reported.
Amazon launched a free Covid testing program across 650 locations in November 2020. The company started winding down the program in July 2021 as free testing became widely available.
But the emergence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant sweeping the US is contributing to a shortage of COVID-19 tests as people rush to get tested.
“I really wish they would bring free Covid testing back to us. It’s scary how many Covid cases we have in our building at the moment,” an anonymous Amazon warehouse worker in Texas told NBC News. “Testing was hard. My partner and I had to go to two different places.”
The worker and his partner, who also works at Amazon, both tested positive for Covid despite being vaccinated, according to NBC News.
Amazon is one of the largest employers in the US, with about 1 million employees. About three-quarters of them work in the company’s warehouses.
Some workers also told NBC News that they had trouble getting support when they tested positive or thought they may have contracted the virus, as the company’s overwhelmed human resource systems took too long to connect.
Amazon did not immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment. However, company spokesperson Barbara Agrait told NBC News the company is focused on vaccinations and is looking into issues related to workers losing time off.
“We continue to believe that the best way to protect our front-line employees and communities from COVID-19 is through vaccinations,” Agrait told NBC News. “To help, we have offered incentives and hosted more than 1,800 free on-site vaccination events at Amazon facilities across the US, making vaccines and boosters available to our employees and their household members.”
Amazon has come under intense scrutiny in the last year around workplace safety issues.
Last Friday, the company reduced its paid time off policy for employees with COVID-19 to seven days from 10 days. The change followed revised guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that cut back isolation time for asymptomatic people from 10 to five days.