They Were Warned Not to Take Sick Days — Then Six Workers at Their Warehouse Died of Coronavirus

The workers also expressed concerns that delays in the provision of personal protective equipment like masks and gloves made an outbreak inevitable.

At least six people who worked in a Long Island, New York, warehouse leased by Broadridge Financial Solutions have died of Covid-19, according to their family members and news reports.

Earlier this month, The Intercept and Type Investigations reported that employees of TMG Mail Solutions, a Broadridge contractor that prints and mails financial documents, had been pressured to work during the Covid-19 pandemic even as some of their co-workers tested positive for the virus. The workers also expressed concerns that delays in the provision of personal protective equipment like masks and gloves made an outbreak inevitable.

Broadridge Financial Solutions is a global financial services company that made nearly $4.4 billion in revenue last year. The production floor of the warehouse is staffed by Broadridge employees and TMG employees, along with employees of Randstad, a multinational staffing firm that has an office inside the building.

Four of the deceased workers were Broadridge employees, according to their families, and two were employees of Randstad.

Randstad declined to answer questions, noting that “personal employee information is considered confidential.” Broadridge declined to provide the number of employees who have contracted Covid-19 or the number who have died from the virus, citing privacy concerns.

  • You Aren’t Allowed to Get Sick

    As Coronavirus spread, TMG Mail Solutions told warehouse workers they aren’t allowed to get sick, Gabriel Thompson reported.

“Our thoughts are with the families and co-workers at this difficult time,” Broadridge spokesperson Gregg Rosenberg wrote in an email. “This is a terrible loss for the Broadridge community. The health and safety of our employees, their families, and our community are our highest priority, and we have implemented extraordinary safety measures to keep workers safe in advance of public health guidelines.”

A representative of TMG said that fewer than 10 of its employees at the Broadridge warehouse had tested positive for the virus and that none had died.

One of the Randstad employees, Jose Bonilla Flores, had worked at the company for more than a decade, according to his wife, Ana Menjivar, who works for TMG. She described him as a diligent and tireless worker, someone who didn’t mind the 12-hour shifts, seven days a week that they both worked during the busy spring season when proxy statements were printed and shipped. The couple, from El Salvador, had met at the warehouse four years ago and have a 3-year-old son, Jonathan.

Like many warehouse workers, Flores and Menjivar were anxious about the coronavirus and had heard rumors that it was spreading among workers. “We were scared — that’s all we talked about,” Menjivar said. “At the same time, we didn’t want to lose work.”

Menjivar said she had been among the TMG workers to receive a flyer on the warehouse floor. As The Intercept and Type Investigations previously reported, the flyer warned, “If you don’t show up for work you will not be paid and after two days you will be considered to have abandoned your job.” The flyer also discouraged TMG employees from wearing masks or gloves unless they were sick or had compromised immune systems.

Flores, 53, had a slight cough and lost his sense of smell and taste but continued to work until April 2, when he developed a fever. The following day, he visited Brentwood Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with suspected Covid-19. A test determined he was positive. By then, Menjivar had also come down with symptoms of Covid-19 and was instructed by the same doctor to quarantine at home.

Over the next two weeks, Menjivar, whose symptoms were less severe, cared for her husband. He was weak and bedridden, she said, but his condition appeared to be stable until April 17, when he was suddenly unable to speak. She immediately called 911, but by the time the paramedics arrived, he had already died from a heart attack caused by the virus, a trend among Covid-19 patients that is alarming cardiac experts.

About the reporter

Gabriel Thompson

Gabriel Thompson

Gabriel Thompson is an author and independent journalist.