On Dec. 11 and 12 last year, six people died while working at the Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois when a series of tornados ripped through the area. According to local officials, 45 personnel members made it out of the building safely, and one individual was airlifted to a regional hospital for injuries sustained during the collapse.
U.S. House Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-NY; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,, D-NY; and Cori Bush, D-MO, wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy seeking documents regarding the company’s labor practices.
"We are concerned by recent reports that Amazon may be putting the health and safety of its workers at risk, including by requiring them to work in dangerous conditions during tornadoes, hurricanes, and other extreme weather," the members wrote.
"As one of our country’s largest and most profitable corporations, it is imperative that Amazon protect workers’ safety and refrain from practices that could put them in danger," they added.
An employee in the warehouse allegedly texted his girlfriend and said that "Amazon won’t let us leave."
The concern covers not only the workers who were still inside the warehouse when the tornado hit the building, but also a driver who claimed that her dispatcher told her that if she did not continue delivering packages she would not have a job "come tomorrow morning."
Amazon has until Apr. 14 to submit the documents and related communications related to the warehouse collapse and the company’s workplace policies and safety practices.
"As our society continues to grapple with the global climate crisis, severe weather events will only grow in frequency and intensity," the members added.
Amazon also faces its first labor union loss as workers at a Staten Island warehouse voted to unionize. Some see the result as a major criticism of the company’s labor practices.
Another warehouse in Alabama is trending toward a narrow loss.