Horrifying details are emerging about the tornado disaster at Amazon’s warehouse in Illinois, where at least 6 workers were killed on the job.
Before he died, Larry Virden reportedly texted his girlfriend: “Amazon won’t let us leave.” He leaves behind four children.
29-year old Clayton Cope rushed to save the lives of his co-workers and warn them about the tornado. He was killed when the warehouse collapsed. “At least I did get to say I love you,” his mother told the local news.
The disaster calls into question some of Amazon’s key business practices. Only 7 of 190 people working at the facility were full-time staff. Amazon’s dependence on contractors allows them to avoid liability for accidents and undercut union organizing.
Amazon workers are also decrying the company’s ban on people carrying their phones on the job, leaving them unable to get updates or contact people during emergencies.
“After these deaths, there is no way in hell I am relying on Amazon to keep me safe.”
Amazon workers are demanding change and accountability. This is Darryl Richardson, one of the leading organizers of the effort to unionize Amazon in Bessemer, Alabama: “We can’t keep letting Amazon get Away with the way they are treating employees, something got to change.”
Amazon executives sent “thoughts and prayers” to its warehouse workers while forcing them to work through a deadly tornado. Why didn’t they send Amazon workers home and out of harm’s way?
Amazon has repeatedly forced its workers to keep working through life-threatening natural disasters. “This is another outrageous example of the company putting profits over the health and safety of their workers,” said Stuart Appelbaum of @RWDSU.
45 people were rescued from the Amazon facility in addition to the 6 who lost their lives. OSHA has now opened an investigation into the fatal warehouse collapse.