Over the last few days, over 70 people have died from a tornado outbreak that affected several states in the Midwest and South. In an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, 6 people were killed after a tornado hit, the only fatalities to occur in the city.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 11, 2021
Amazon is not a stranger to being called out for working conditions, including claims of being overworked and having an unsafe working environment. However, this was even more concerning to many. According to Insider, “that most of those who died in its Illinois warehouse during a devastating tornado were not sheltering in the designated area.”
However, many were still concerned as to why the workers would be working when storms were known to be so bad. Osha has now opened an investigation due to these concerns.
At least 2 people died in there, and more are unaccounted for, because Amazon forced them to work last night, despite tornado warnings, just like they forced people to work in heat waves last summer, just like they forced people to work through covid.
Amazon is killing workers. https://t.co/YJpEieouFu
— Read Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks (@JoshuaPotash) December 11, 2021
One girlfriend of a victim shared text messages showing that he was not allowed to leave. In the text message, he writes “I will be home after the storm” and “Amazon won’t let us leave.”
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. pic.twitter.com/3ZRLik9VIs
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) December 13, 2021
In addition, many Amazon workers are claiming that they are not trained for emergencies. Though Amazon spokesperson denies this, saying that emergency response training is done at the beginning of training and then throughout the employment, many workers still maintained the idea that they lacked training when it comes to emergencies. Overall, Amazon has been a hot topic recently, but even more so on Twitter as many reacted to the deaths, wondering why the Amazon workers were forced to work during a storm or if the accurate safety procedures were made known to the employees.
The collpased Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville was built using a process called “tilt up" that's a favorite of warehousers because it's cheap and fast. The roof straightforwardly lays atop heavy walls — in Edwardsville the tornado ripped off the roof and the walls collapsed. pic.twitter.com/znXWdKVRCM
— justin jacoby smith (@hoosteen) December 14, 2021
Not only were some concerned with the fact they worked during a tornado and lack of safety training, some believed the actual building was not built to take on storms, making it even more dangerous. Overall, it is most likely a good thing Osha became involved with the investigation, and hopefully, there can be justice to the victims.