The world is facing an unprecedented event right now: a combined public health and economic crisis. With much of the population on lockdown in the countries where we operate, Amazon is proud to be one of the companies able to fill the essential needs of our communities during this challenging time. With the social distancing required to fight COVID-19, delivering items directly to someone’s door has never been more important, and our employees are serving as lifelines to tens of millions of people in this crisis.
Our employees are heroes working on the front lines of this issue, and we cannot thank them enough for the work they do every day. We also know that they worry about themselves and their families when they come to work and potentially risk exposure. And as we all deal with these challenges and concerns, emotions can run high, communication can seem slow as the rumor mill outpaces reliable information, and the general perception grows that more should or could be done—without having the global perspective on the lack of available personal protective supplies and how much work is actually being done by our teams to procure those items.
As has been widely publicized, there have been instances where this has resulted in expressions of protest from some members on our teams. These incidents have occurred at a very small number of sites and represent a few hundred employees out of hundreds of thousands. We want to be very clear that we respect the rights of these employees to protest and recognize their legal right to do so. At the same time, these rights do not provide a blanket immunity against bad actions, particularly those that endanger the health, and potentially the lives, of colleagues. It is vitally important that we keep people safe during this pandemic, and one of the primary ways we can do that is to ensure everyone at our sites is taking precautions, such as social distancing, frequent hand washing, and disinfecting surfaces. We have taken and will continue to take strong actions to enforce compliance with our health and safety programs at all levels of the team, from front line employees through senior leaders. This is not about any one individual. When anyone on our team at any level purposely puts the health of others at risk, we will take swift, decisive action without concern about external reaction. We did not, and have not ever, terminated an associate for speaking out on their working conditions, but we will act swiftly with individuals who purposely put others at risk.
What you probably read and hear less about are the hundreds of thousands of Amazon employees who are doing incredibly important work every day to support their communities and who are working with their local teams to drive improvements that further enhance the health and safety of their work environment. We are all learning and adapting quickly through this process, and their feedback has led to changes to over 150 processes across operations and the rollout of significant health and safety measures.
This is where we are today. I can assure you that just as the situation changes and evolves rapidly, so will we to ensure we are protecting our employees. To all the Amazonians and partners around the world, thank you for all you’re doing to serve people who need you most during this time. We are in this together, and together, we will keep delivering.