The House Committee on Oversight and Reform has launched an investigation into Amazon’s severe weather labor practices, focusing on the company’s Illinois warehouse where six people died in a tornado strike last winter.
According to one of Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Cori Bush (D-NY MO) and sent to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy on Thursday.
The letter cites reports that Amazon threatened to fire employees if they left work while the tornado swept through the area, and that delivery workers were not allowed to call drivers back without Amazon’s approval, even if an active tornado warning existed. The storm eventually hit an Amazon warehouse, which collapsed, killing six people.
The committee is asking for extensive information from Amazon – the letter is requesting documents regarding the company’s emergency preparedness requirements, drills conducted in Edwardsville and logs of “all communications between officers, employees or contractors regarding employment responsibilities and company log during the severe weather events” , among other things.
Lawmakers also want records of Amazon’s internal reviews or investigations into the events in Edwardsville, as well as any disciplinary actions faced by employees and contractors in Illinois and elsewhere. Amazon is asked to submit the documents by April 14th.
Lawmakers also raise concerns raised in other Amazon camps — some of the requests for information relate to Amazon employees who were asked to keep working during wildfires in California, extreme heat waves in Washington and Oregon, and hurricanes in 2017 and 2018 .
This isn’t the first government investigation into Amazon’s warehousing practices in Edwardsville. Two groups of lawmakers sent letters demanding answers in December, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched its own investigation.
Amazon didn’t immediately respond Those of The Verge Solicitation for comment, but one of its spokespersons said The New York Times: “Our focus remains on supporting our employees and partners, the families who have lost loved ones, the surrounding community and everyone affected by the tornadoes. We will respond to this letter in due course.”