The incident unfolded when an Amazon employee found an insect they believed to be a bed bug inside the van, prompting the workers to gather in the HR office and refuse to leave until they were given paid time off.
A group of Amazon workers at the company’s largest air hub in Kentucky were granted a full paid day off on Monday
As a result, the workers were able to secure holiday pay at time and a half for Memorial Day. The exact number of workers who received the day off remains unclear. However, it is worth noting that a worker from the same site stated last year that most employees at the air hub earn less than $20 per hour.
Amazon responded to the incident by stating that there were no issues with insects at the air hub and that employees were excused for the day even though the presence of bed bugs had not been confirmed. The company emphasized that regular inspections by pest control professionals are part of their health and safety protocols. According to Amazon spokesperson Mary Kate Paradis, the insect in question was confirmed not to be a bed bug after the van was taken out of service and treated.
The Unionize Amazon Northern Kentucky KCVG, which organized the workers, did not provide a comment in response to requests from Insider
Earlier this year, the Unionize Amazon Northern Kentucky KCVG began collaborating with the national Amazon Labor Union after successfully unionizing a site in Staten Island last year. The union’s goals include securing a starting pay rate of $30 per hour and 180 hours of paid time off annually. The group has already started collecting signatures from employees in preparation for a union vote.
This is not the first time Amazon workers have raised concerns about bed bugs. Last year, a warehouse in Texas was temporarily closed due to potential bed bug infestation and employee complaints of insect bites. During the closure, all approximately 500 workers continued to receive pay. However, the company later stated that no evidence of bed bugs was found.