More details are emerging after a tornado destroyed an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois on Friday. The warehouse collapsed, killing six and injuring many more. 45 individuals were confirmed to have made it out of the building. During the aftermath of the tornado, many are criticizing Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ response to the tragic event and the company’s policies.
Workers Are Not Allowed To Have Their Phones
One policy that is getting a lot of criticism is the cell phone ban. Workers are not allowed to have their cell phones in the workplace, and many think this has left them vulnerable to workplace accidents. “If there’s a severe weather event like we had with the tornadoes, or if there’s a mass shooter…what’s going to happen to the people who don’t have their phones with them? They’re just stuck,” said one Amazon employee. “They have no contact with the outside world. They can’t call for help. Their families are left terrorized because they can’t reach them.”
Amazon has had this policy for a while, arguing that it’s actually for the workers’ safety. The company said that a worker being distracted by their cell phones could lead to workplace accidents.
Jeff Bezos Responds
The public is also angry about Bezos’ response to the horrific tragedy. The founder seemed more concerned about Michael Strahan’s trip to space, documenting it on social media. After public outcry, Bezos finally made a statement, saying, “The news from Edwardsville is tragic. We’re heartbroken over the loss of our teammates there, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones. All of Edwardsville should know that the Amazon team is committed to supporting them and will be by their side through this crisis.”
He continued, “We extend our fullest gratitude to all the incredible first responders who have worked so tirelessly at the site.” Many see this apology as too little, too late. People are also questioning why the warehouse was still full of workers amid tornado warnings. One Amazon worker said many Amazon employees feel that the company “doesn’t care about our well-being” and that “conditions are very difficult to work under.”
“It cares about profits. We understand that,” the source continued. “It’s a business. They’re not a church. They’re not a government. They’re a business in business to make money, which they are very good at. But they exert so much authority over people who work here, to our detriment.”