Amazon vendors threatened to shoot during the tornado

Workers are using the equipment to remove the portion of the roof that remained on the severely damaged Amazon Duty Center in Edwardsville, Illinois.  The Amazon Prime delivery van is located in the lower left corner.

Workers are using the equipment to remove the portion of the roof that remained on the severely damaged Amazon Duty Center in Edwardsville, Illinois.
Photography: Jeff Roberson (AP)

Amazon delivery driverwith across the road Midwest faced a horrific election last week: Keep ride and package delivery in the middle screaming tornado warnings or you risk getting fired.

Tmessage ext viewed from Bloomberg show a painful dilemma in the midst of which Amazon workers faced The outbreak of a deadly tornado on Friday. in the subject, says the driver who contacts his dispatcher about them a tornado warning was heard. In response, the dispatcher told the driver that “Just keep driving.

About 40 minutes later, the driver sent an accompanying message saying he heard tornado sirens all around him. “Just keep delivering for now,” the dispatcher replied. “We have to wait for news from Amazon. If we have to bring people back, the decision will be up to them. “

Fearing that the tornado would turn their van into a “suitcase,The driver asked to return to the facility and shelter, but was told that this could lead to their interruption. “If you decide to come back with your packages, it will be considered as rejecting your route, which will end up ending with you not having a job tomorrow morning,” the dispatcher said. “Sirens are just a warning.”

The driver was reportedly about 30 miles (48 kilometers) far from the Amazon Edwardsville, Illinois warehouse, which was decimated by one of the tornadoes that passed through six states. Aat least six workers were killed in the storm ripped from the roof of the building and destroyed two concrete walls 40 feet high (12 meters). Fourty five other workers who sheltered in the place are saved. The Directorate for Safety and Health at Work has since opened investigations in the collapse of the warehouse.

Both warehouse workers and drivers found themselves risking their lives in the middle of Amazon’s busiest season of the year. Online sales Grow almost every day before Christmas, and online ordering, in general, has seen a amplify due to a change in shopping habits brought about by the pandemic. Amazon’s reliance on a scattered network of contracted package delivery workers has reportedly complicated rescue efforts and created challenges for local police to determine how many people were in the facility. according to the New York Times.

When asked why its drivers delivered packages during well-predicted and extremely dangerous storm, Amazon tried to shift most of the blame to its dispatcher.

“This was a situation that was developing in a wide geographical area, and unfortunately, the delivery partner’s dispatcher did not follow standard security practices,” an Amazon spokesman told Bloomberg. “This dispatcher should have immediately instructed the driver to seek shelter when the driver reported hearing tornado sirens. During this text exchange, the local Amazon team ensured that each delivery partner instructed their drivers to take cover or seek shelter and advised them to stop delivering in the evening. ”

But loose or even non-existent safety standards fit the pattern; other workers interviewed by Bloomberg claimed to have undergone minimal weather safety training. A previous manager who worked at the fulfillment center near the destroyed facility claimed that the company had not performed any tornado exercises in its entire two years of work there. Amazon disputed that, saying workers are required to undergo training covering security and emergency plans each year.

These first-hand bills from drivers and facility workers are likely to contribute to growing concerns about Amazon’s safety practices. This week, a group of Amazon shareholders filed a decision inviting the board to commission an independent audit of workplace safety in the company. This resolutionwhich could be voted on next May—looks beyond weather events and would seek to explore ways in which Amazon ‘s effectiveness of maximalist business practices and productivity seekers can contribute to worker injuries. The technological behemoth has faced criticism and legal challenges dismissal of workers who talked about the insecure covid-19 protocols, having workers report for duty during deadly floods, and keeping the warehouse open during extreme heat.

Amazon did not immediately respond to Gizmod’s request for comment on the resolution.

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Naveen Kumar

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