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Sanders, AOC, and Others Demand Workplace Safety Investigation of Amazon

Photograph: Joe Raedle (Getty)

Following yesterday’s Prime Day strike at a success middle in Shakopee, Minnesota, over a dozen progressive lawmakers—together with Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ro Khanna—co-signed a letter to the Occupational Security and Well being Administration (OSHA) to request a “comprehensive investigation into the workplace conditions” in Amazon and its subsidiary companies’ warehouses.

Reporting has uncovered numerous points inside Amazon’s huge logistics community. Some, just like the extraordinary management the corporate exerts over employees’ time and productiveness calls for, look like systemic, and have been the supply of allegations similar to workers urinating in bottles to be able to hit quotas, fainting on the job, or growing repetitive pressure accidents. Others have been freak accidents—such because the Amazon employee who was crushed by a forklift in Indiana, the one killed by a truck in Pennsylvania, or the 2 situations of warehouse employees being uncovered to bear spray—that, of their totality, paint an unflattering image of Bezos’s empire.

“In the year 2019, working conditions in the United States of America should be the best and the safest in the world,” the lawmakers’ joint letter to OSHA reads. “Reflected in previous fines levied by your agency, this is not the case with Amazon.” As talked about, the letter arrives on the heels of a piece stoppage at a success middle exterior Minneapolis, which the lawmakers describe as a protest of “their employer’s unfair, unsafe practices.”

In a e mail to Gizmodo, an Amazon spokesperson characterised the strike as an motion by “roughly 15 associates.” “It was obvious to the 1500-full-time workforce that an outside organization used Prime Day to raise its own visibility, conjured misinformation and a few associate voices to work in their favor, and relied on political rhetoric to fuel media attention,” the spokesperson added.

MSP1, as this specific warehouse is known as, has been a hotbed of labor unrest inside Amazon’s community. Whereas nonetheless a representative-elect, freshman lawmaker Ilhan Omar spoke to a crowd of activists and employees who marched on MSP1 in December, the primary motion of the type on U.S. soil. (Strikes and different actions are far more commonplace at Amazon’s European services—as was the case at services in Germany, Spain, Poland, and England yesterday.) In October, Senator Sanders and fellow presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren requested extra details about Amazon’s anti-union practices.

“If Rep. Omar and Sen Sanders really want to help the American worker, they should focus on passing legislation that raises the federal minimum wage—$7.25 is too low,” an Amazon spokesperson informed Gizmodo in response to right now’s information. “As for the letter, we welcome OSHA to visit our facilities, just as we offer public tours to any member of the public. They will see that we offer a safe workplace with industry leading pay starting at $15/hr, benefits, and education opportunities.” Senator Sanders, it ought to be famous, has repeatedly lobbied to extend the minimal wage to $15 per hour. OSHA’s web site additionally returns over 200 outcomes for investigations into Amazon’s services, 51 of which discovered violations.

“Rep. Omar visited our facility in Minnesota earlier this year and only had good things to say, so we are surprised by this letter,” the spokesperson added. “As for Senator Sanders, he has declined our numerous invitations to visit a facility of his choice.” Gizmodo was unable to establish any quotes from Omar praising MSP1, Amazon has not responded to a followup e mail asking for examples, and a consultant from Omar’s workplace described the assertion as inaccurate.

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