The House Committee on Oversight and Reform has launched an investigation into Amazon’s severe weather labor practices, focusing on the company’s warehouse in Illinois, where six people died. in a tornado last winter.
The committee is seeking documents and communications records from Amazon within the next two weeks, according to a letter signed by Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Cori Bush (D – MO) and sent to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy on Thursday.
The letter cites reports that Amazon threatened to fire employees if they left work as the tornado swept through the area and delivery dispatchers weren’t allowed to call back drivers without the approval of the driver. ‘Amazon, even with an active tornado warning. The storm ended up hitting an Amazon warehouse, which collapsed and killed six people.
The committee is asking for a large amount of information from Amazon — the letter asks for documents about the company’s emergency preparedness requirements, the drills it performed in Edwardsville, and the logs of “all the communications between management personnel, employees or contractors regarding job responsibilities and company protocol during severe weather,” among others.
Lawmakers also want documentation of Amazon’s internal reviews or investigations of the Edwardsville events, as well as information about disciplinary employees and contractors it encountered in Illinois and elsewhere. Amazon is requested to produce the documents before April 14.
Lawmakers also raised concerns that surfaced at other Amazon warehouses — some of the requests for information relate to Amazon staff who were told to continue working during the California wildfires, extreme heat waves in Washington and Oregon and hurricanes in 2017 and 2018.
This isn’t the first government investigation into Amazon’s warehouse 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 did not immediately respond to The edge request for comment, but one of its spokespersons said The New York Times“Our goal continues to be to support 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.