Is Amazon approaching its breaking point in the Covid-19 crisis?

Ordering groceries from Amazon right now can feel like playing a game of whack-a-mole. Demand is so high among shoppers home-bound in the Covid-19 pandemic that in cities such as New York delivery slots are completely booked at Amazon Fresh and its Whole Foods grocery stores. When slots do pop up they can disappear again in an instant. The situation has prompted comments on Reddit and led a developer to post a tool on Github that automatically refreshes an open browser window in the background every 60 seconds until it finds an open slot. Meanwhile, items in a shopper’s cart can sell out as they wait and be removed without warning.

It’s at this moment, when Amazon needs its fulfillment centers running smoothly and at full capacity, that the company is facing serious discontent from workers in those centers.

Yesterday, at one of the company’s warehouses in Staten Island, New York, workers staged their second walk out in protest of conditions they say leave them at risk of contracting the new coronavirus. Last week Amazon employees near Detroit held a similar demonstration.

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