After 6 Workers Died in 2021 Amazon Edwardsville Warehouse Collapse, Warren, Bush, Ocasio-Cortez Question Amazon’s Decision to Rebuild Warehouse without Key Safety Improvements
In December 2021, Amazon’s Edwardsville, Illinois Warehouse Collapsed During a Tornado, Resulting in Six Deaths
Amazon is Reportedly Rebuilding its Edwardsville Warehouse to “Pre-Loss” Conditions, Without a Storm Shelter
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and U.S. Representatives Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, questioning the company’s plans to reportedly rebuild its tornado-struck warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois only to “pre-loss conditions” – conditions that contributed to the death of six workers in December 2021. The lawmakers are asking Amazon to provide answers about why the company is reportedly failing to build a safe room at the Edwardsville facility, even after the deadly December 2021 collapse.
“Amazon has a responsibility to make the modest investments necessary to ensure that workers in its Edwardsville facility are protected from future disasters… Your company’s reported decision to rebuild the Edwardsville warehouse to the same condition as when six workers died there last year suggests that you are once again putting your profits over workers’ safety,” wrote the lawmakers.
On December 10, 2021, the roof of an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois collapsed during a tornado, killing six people and injuring several more workers. In letters in December 2021 and May 2022 after the tragedy, Senator Warren and Representatives Bush and Ocasio-Cortez raised significant concerns about Amazon’s policies that put workers at risk, especially during weather emergencies.
Amazon’s shelter-in-place location at the Edwardsville facility was only a windowless room not built specifically to protect workers from tornadoes, and very different from a storm shelter designed to survive a severe weather event. The lawmakers note that despite Amazon’s billions in profits, it reportedly won’t pay for the minimal cost of constructing a storm shelter or safe room at its rebuilt Edwardsville facility, which is in Wind Zone IV, FEMA’s highest tornado risk area.
Given Amazon’s reported refusal to rebuild its Edwardsville warehouse without making key safety improvements, even after the death of six workers, the lawmakers are calling on Amazon to revise its approach to protect its workers and to answer a set of questions about its plans to rebuild the Edwardsville warehouse by January 14, 2023.
Senator Warren has led the fight to protect workers’ rights and safety and prevent workers from being exploited by giant corporations like Amazon:
- In September 2022, Senator Warren and Representative Bush led 23 colleagues in a letter to the CEOs of Amazon, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Grubhub about reports that a new benefit offered to their employees in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade applies only to the companies’ employees and not to their misclassified independent contractor workforce.
- In June 2022, Senators Warren, Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Representatives Bush and Ocasio-Cortez sent a letter to Amazon demanding answers about the company’s proposed worker chat application, which reportedly would ban workers from using certain words and phrases, restricting their ability to discuss their working conditions and basic legal rights, including unionization.
- In May 2022, Senator Warren and Representatives Bush and Ocasio-Cortez sent a letter to Amazon, blasting the company for its lackluster responses and failure to answer their questions from their letter in December 2021 about the circumstances and policies that led to the collapse of an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois that killed six workers.
- In March 2022, Senators Warren, Sanders, Booker, Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Representatives Ocasio-Cortez and Bush sent a letter to the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, urging them to investigate Amazon’s “Attendance Points Policy”, which punishes workers for taking legally-protected leave.
- In February 2022, Senator Warren and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) reintroduced the Schedules that Work Act to help ensure that low-wage employees have more certainty about their work schedules and income.
- In February 2022, Senator Warren and Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), DeLauro, Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Katie Porter (D-Calif.) reintroduced the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act to strengthen protections for part-time workers and allow them to better balance their work schedules with personal and family needs.
- In December 2021, Senator Warren and Representatives Bush and Ocasio-Cortez sent a letter to Amazon, demanding answers about the circumstances and failure in safety policies that led to the death of six workers after an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois collapsed during a tornado.
- In April 2020, Senator Warren and Representative Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) proposed an Essential Workers Bill of Rights, which includes universal paid sick leave and family and medical leave.
- Senator Warren is an original cosponsor of the 2020 PAID Leave Act, legislation that would provide universal paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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