Gig Economy Workers Are Finally Being Heard

Coronavirus-inspired protests have raised awareness around the dangers workers for companies like Amazon and Instacart face

Max Ufberg
GEN
Published in
6 min readApr 3, 2020

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Photo illustration. Image source: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

TTonya Ramsey’s first year and a half working as ship dock associate at an Amazon warehouse near Detroit was, all things considered, a good experience. Sure, there were minor gripes, but nothing out of the ordinary. “Every workplace is always going to have some kind of complaints from employees,” she said. But at the end of the day, it was a steady paycheck to bring home to her fiancé and 11-year-old child. “I didn’t have any complaints before the pandemic,” she said. But as the novel coronavirus started to spread like wildfire across the U.S., that sense of satisfaction quickly melted away.

There has been a glut of negative reports coming out of the Amazon warehouses, which have remained open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic: Employees say the company failed to alert them to the first coronavirus cases in the facility, or to communicate a plan of action in the event that a person or surface is exposed to coronavirus (which can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on plastic for up to three days). Workers also claim there is a shortage of cleaning supplies and say there’s been no guarantee of paid sick leave. After workers in a warehouse…

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Max Ufberg
GEN
Writer for

Writer and editor. Previously at Medium, Pacific Standard, Wired