Lawmakers are investigating Amazon’s labor practices after an Illinois warehouse collapse sparked fears for workers’ safety

  • Amazon is being investigated by the House Oversight Committee over its labor practices.
  • In December, six employees died after a warehouse collapsed during an extreme weather event.
  • On Friday, three lawmakers wrote a letter to CEO Andy Jassy seeking information.

Amazon is being investigated by the House Oversight Committee, following a deadly warehouse collapse in December.

On Friday, lawmakers wrote a letter to the company’s CEO Andy Jassy seeking documents regarding its labor practices. 

In December, six employees died at an Illinois Amazon warehouse after the roof collapsed due to severe weather conditions. Two employees told Insider’s Bethany Dawson that it was normal practice at Amazon to go into work when a tornado warning was in place. 

The committee urged Andy Jassy to provide more information on its practices, “particularly during severe weather events.”

The letter was signed by three US House Representatives: Carolyn B. Maloney, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Cori Bush.

The lawmakers said they were “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.”

They also referenced reports of employees being threatened with termination if they left work and sought safety during the dangerous storm.

“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,” the letter read.

Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel told Insider: “Our focus continues to be on supporting our employees and partners, the families who lost loved ones, the surrounding community, and all those affected by the tornadoes. We will respond to this letter in due course.”

The letter highlighted other occurrences such as Amazon workers reportedly being required to stay on the job during deadly wildfires in California in 2018, extreme heat in the Pacific Northwest in 2021, and dangerous flooding during Hurricanes Irma in 2017 and Ida in 2021. 

Insider’s Isobel Asher Hamilton reported in January that the family of an Amazon driver killed in the December warehouse collapse is suing the company. A group of 23 US lawmakers previously sent a letter to Jassy and Amazon chair Jeff Bezos. 

The committee said it wanted to know about Amazon workplace policies or practices that may have prevented the workers from seeking safe shelter.

It added: “This investigation will inform legislative efforts to curb unfair labor practices, strengthen protections for workers, and address the effects of climate change on worker safety.”