via Yahoo!Life, June 20, 2023
The Vermont Independent, who chairs the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), is launching an investigation into “dangerous and illegal” conditions at Amazon warehouses, according to 10-page letter the former presidential candidate issued to the Seattle company’s CEO Andy Jassy on Tuesday.
“If Amazon can afford to spend $6 billion on stock buybacks last year, it can afford to make sure that its warehouses are safe places to work,” Sanders wrote. “If Amazon can afford to pay you [Jassy] $289 million in total compensation over the past two years, it can afford to treat all of its workers with dignity and respect, not contempt.”
Sanders cited data that Amazon reports to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), noting the company’s rate of 6.6 serious injuries per 100 workers. This total is more than double the rate of all non-Amazon warehouses, which tally 3.2 serious injuries per 100 workers.
The legislator called on Amazon to explain its higher injury and turnover rates compared to non-Amazon warehouses, and fork over data on its Amcare on-site medical clinics from 2019 to 2023, which he blasted for “abysmal” care.
Sanders also asked for data on how much it costs to implement safety measures across vacuum lifts, spring-platform carts, powered cart tuggers and more—as well as all communications related to the consideration or deployment of the safety measures since 2018.
The longtime political firebrand also asked Jassy to state whether Amazon has, internally or through a third party, examined “the connection between the pace of work of its warehouse workers and the prevalence or cost of injuries at its warehouses.”