Brown Demands Answers from Amazon on Labor Practices, Asks Department of Labor to Investigate



Brown Demands Answers from Amazon on Labor Practices, Asks Department of Labor to Investigate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the devastating reports of the death of six employees after an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois collapsed during a tornado on December 10, 2021, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) led two letters today calling for an investigation into Amazon’s workplace labor practices and demanding answers from Amazon on the circumstances that led to the death of these workers.

Brown joined U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and U.S. Representatives Cori Bush (D-MO), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and 19 of their colleagues in the House and Senate in sending a letter to Amazon’s Executive Chairman, Jeff Bezos, and its President and CEO, Andy Jassy, demanding answers about the circumstances that led to the death of six employees after an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois collapsed during a tornado on December 10, 2021. They delineate Amazon’s anti-worker and anti-union policies and expressed grave concerns about how Amazon’s policies may have contributed to these tragic deaths, and other health and safety problems affecting its workers. The members pressed Amazon for answers about its policies and actions in Edwardsville and at other Amazon facilities in the country.

“We have heard alarming reports about the events that took place in the warehouse moments prior to the tragedy, and these reports fit a larger pattern: Amazon puts worker safety at risk in everyday situations and emergencies alike,” the members wrote. “We are working to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act precisely to end such unacceptable anti-union practices.  The events of December 10th are a sobering reminder of how dangerous it is when workers are denied collective bargaining power.”

Brown also joined U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh calling for a full investigation into Amazon’s labor practices.

“Recent reports have brought to light troubling working conditions at Amazon that suggest improper treatment of its employees, to the detriment of workers and families across the country,” the senators wrote. “In addition to allegations of unlawful workplace conditions, Amazon has faced several charges of unfair labor practices in recent months, and recurring worker strikes and attempts to organize reflect a persistent frustration with the company’s management. Today, approximately one out of every 170 U.S. workers is an Amazon employee, underscoring our particular interest in ensuring that the company’s employment practices are fair, and in accordance with the law. We urge you to use every mechanism at your disposal to investigate Amazon’s labor and employment practices immediately.”

This isn’t the first time Brown has been a leading voice in calling out Amazon’s anti-labor practices. In September, Brown joined five of his colleagues in sending a letter to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Charlotte Burrows requesting an investigation into allegations that Amazon denies reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees at its fulfillment centers.

Earlier this year, Brown led his colleagues in a letter to Bezos and Jassy urging Amazon to support its workers in their efforts to form a union.

To see the full text of the letter to Amazon, please click here.

To see the full text of the letter to Secretary Walsh, please click here.