According to the letter delivered this week to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, a congressional committee is examining whether the internet giant harms employees by forcing them to work in hazardous conditions during tornadoes and other extreme weather events.
According to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform letter, the investigation would look at the deaths of six workers who died last year when a tornado slammed an Amazon warehouse near St. Louis. According to the letter, supervisors at the site reportedly told workers and contractors that if they fled as the storm neared, they would be fired or face other punishments.
The probe will also look into Amazon’s rules in general.
According to the committee’s letter, the tornado occurrence “was not a unique incidence.” “Amazon employees were reportedly ordered to stay on the job amid devastating wildfires in California in 2018, excessive heat in the Pacific Northwest in Summer 2021, and dangerous floods during Hurricanes Irma and Ida in 2017 and 2021,” according to the article.
The letter requests that Amazon share papers connected to the disaster and the company’s policies for extreme weather events, including emergency procedures and disciplinary and termination rules, with the committee. The materials must be submitted by April 14 to the committee.
Amazon did not reply to CMT’s request for comment right away. However, the New York Times received the following statement from a corporate spokeswoman: “Our first emphasis remains on assisting our workers and partners, the families of those who have lost loved ones, the surrounding community, and all those the storms have impacted. We will answer your letter as soon as possible.” Last year, the business informed Bloomberg that government advice and necessary safety protocols were followed at the facility during the tornado.
Amazon’s labor policies have been under growing criticism, with claims of insufficient measures concerning COVID-19, unlawful employee terminations, inappropriate activities around unionization attempts, and inadequate restroom breaks for workers, among other things.