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SF Warehouse for Amazon Grocery Delivery ‘a Total Pigsty,’ Lawsuit Claims

Also: SF’s mayor breaks a promise to restaurant workers, and more news to start your day

According to Amazon, their grocery delivery service works out of this warehouse on Tennessee Street
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San Francisco’s Amazon Fresh grocery delivery warehouse isn’t being properly cleaned, a new lawsuit claims

Chiyomi Brent works at San Francisco’s Amazon Fresh Fulfillment Center (which, per the retail giant, is located at 888 Tennessee Street). In her job as a “picker,” she groups items for orders from inside a refrigerated warehouse, and is expected to assemble around 60 items per hour. According to a lawsuit she filed Thursday, the SF Chronicle reports, that warehouse is “a total pigsty” as “pickers have been told not to clean up messes and have not been instructed to sanitize the work area.” She’s now suing Amazon, in an effort, she says, to get them to clean up their act.

According to the Bay Area News Group, Brent first contacted local officials regarding the alleged issues, then reached out to state regulators. Even after that, the suit says that Amazon still failed to implement “even basic minimum safety precautions.”

The lawsuit, which was filed by SF law firm Andrus Anderson, claims that carts and baskets used by pickers “are not sanitized or cleaned between users,” and the freezer suits worn by pickers to withstand the warehouse’s temperatures are not cleaned between uses by different employees. Workers must also “pass by each other in close proximity down narrow aisles” and are unable to “meet social distancing and sanitation protocols required by law,” the suit claims.

“I expressed my concerns about COVID-19 (virus) infection to supervisors and managers, and made suggestions about how to improve sanitation, for instance with the freezer suits. But my concerns were not taken seriously and no steps were taken to improve safety,” Brent says via statement. An Amazon spokesperson declined to address the suit, but said that the company has spent $4 billion on “COVID-related initiatives” and offered employees unlimited time off from mid-March to May 1.

And in other news...

  • After the SF Chronicle’s Heather Knight pushed city hall to release a pool of healthcare reimbursement money back to the San Francisco workers (most of whom are in the restaurant industry) who paid into the fund, Mayor London Breed announced in April — and with great fanfare — that $138 million of that cash would be returned to those employees. That wasn’t true, Knight discovered (props to her, by the way, for staying on the case), as workers aren’t getting their money back after all, and no one in city government can explain exactly why that is. [SF Chronicle]
  • 20-year-old pisco bar Destino has closed the doors of its Market Street restaurant, but owner James Schenk says that he hopes to reopen in a new location nearby — and his catering business will be up and running soonish. [Tablehopper]
  • A new Oakland sweets operation called Gourmet Puff opened this April, and is delivering deep-fried Nigerian puff-puffs across the East Bay. [Berkeleyside]
  • Sylvia and Peter Foundas, the owners of four-year-old San Jose Greek spot Blue Door, have rebranded their restaurant into a spot called Mextizo Restaurant & Cantina, with a menu created by a Veracruz-born chef. It’s now open for outdoor dining and takeout. [East Bay Times]
  • Ruth Gebreyesus (you likely read her piece on black-owned restaurants last week) is back with a deep dive on People’s Breakfast, the Oakland food distribution org that’s evolved to serve folks through the pandemic and recent protest movement. [KQED]
  • SF Ethiopian spots House of Tadu and Tadu Kitchen say that their inclusion on guides to black-owned businesses compiled in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement have led to a boom in business. [The Takeout]
  • Andres Bernal says he used to lead food tours in SF, but in the pandemic, he’s pivoted to selling plexiglass to restaurants to act as cough, sneeze and COVID-19 guards. [NBC Bay Area]
  • With outdoor dining already open in many parts of the Bay Area, local brew pubs are reconfiguring into biergartens. [SF Gate]
  • Palo Alto has closed down its well-trafficked California Street to allow for outdoor dining. [NBC Bay Area]

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