Inside Amazon - March 11th, 2020

Inside Amazon (Mar 11th, 2020)

Employees petition for paid sick time / East coast working from home / Big Tech meets with White House

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1. Last night, Amazon warehouse workers posted a petition addressed to CEO Jeff Bezos, asking, among other things, that they be paid for all time off due to the coronavirus. Inside Media reported yesterday that warehouse employees, some being grateful for Amazon giving them unpaid time off, are still dealing with work-related issues the coronavirus has raised. As I reported, with the freedom to use the unlimited unpaid sick time off with no impact to their employee records, some employees were planning to take time off (sick or not), while others said they couldn't afford to and would most likely come to work sick."We shouldn't have to choose between paying rent or being healthy," said one anonymous employee. The petition also asks for the company to take more measures to protect employees from the outbreak, communicate more about what it is doing, and allow workers to take "frequent and regular hand washing breaks." 

2. Amazon Prime Video is offering its service at no charge to Italy's "red zone," where citizens will be in lockdown until the coronavirus subsides. The area includes the regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna, where residents can go online and access Prime without a membership. Italy's state broadcaster RAI is responding to the lockdown by increasing programming for children and teens. -- VARIETY

3. The Champion sportswear line owned by Hanesbrands Inc. has taken its C9 brand to Amazon with a two-year contract. The lower-priced C9 items had been offered exclusively by Target since 2004. The shift to Amazon will allow the brand to be available worldwide. Other Hanesbrands' products will remain with Target. -- BLOOMBERG

4. Although they have been around since 2013, information about Amazon Coins showed up this week in Business Insider. If you are not familiar, Amazon Coins are a digital currency used to buy games, apps and in-app purchases through Amazon that are used on a Fire tablet or TV. An Amazon coin is equal to one U.S. cent, but they can be purchased in bulk at a discount. Once you've purchased coins and added them to your Amazon account, you will have the option to pay using them or cash when you make a game or app purchase. -- BUSINESS INSIDER

5. Representatives from big tech met with the White House today to discuss how they can help coordinate the response to the coronavirus. The meeting, that was planned to take place at the White House, was held via teleconference and included Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter. Michael Kratsios, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, led the meeting, asking the companies to lend their technology to help sort through a database of coronavirus-related literature. The goal of this collaboration is to minimize misinformation. Tech companies have responded to their own challenges in the midst of the outbreak, including telling employees to work from home. None of the companies nor the White House have released any results from the meeting. -- CNET

6. After telling employees in Seattle and Washington to work from home last week, Amazon has expanded that suggestion to its employees in New York and New Jersey. The company has asked them to work from home if they can until the end of March. Amazon's Audible headquarters are in Newark, N.J. Thousands of Amazon employees including those at AWS, sales, and marketing work in New York City. Employees in the Lombardy region/Asti province of Italy also have been working from home since an employee there tested positive for the coronavirus at the end of February. -- CNBC

7. CNET has attempted to put together a complete list of Alexa commands -- and they've done a nice job! The list includes basic commands and special commands for Echo Show and Spot, Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. There are more than 200 commands in 21 categories. -- CNET

Written and curated by Kathleen Walder, writer and humorist who began her journalism career using  a typewriter.  She co-hosts KatSoup, a weekly program on Ohio’s Radio Reading Service for the visually impaired and print disabled. Her blog, Date-a-palooza, takes a jaundiced look at the world of online dating. Follow her on Twitter @KatWalder.

Edited by Beth Duckett, staff writer at Inside.

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