December 15, 2022

After 6 Workers Died in 2021 Amazon Edwardsville Warehouse Collapse, Congresswomen Bush, Ocasio-Cortez & Senator Warren Question Amazon’s Decision to Rebuild Warehouse without Key Safety Improvements


In December 2021, Amazon’s Edwardsville, Illinois Warehouse Collapsed During a Tornado, Resulting in Six Deaths


Amazon is Reportedly Rebuilding its Edwardsville Warehouse to “Pre-Loss” Conditions, Without a Storm Shelter

St. Louis, Mo. (Dec. 15, 2022) — U.S. Representatives Cori Bush (MO-01) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, questioning the company’s plans to reportedly rebuild its tornado-struck warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois only to “pre-loss conditions” – conditions that contributed to the death of six workers in December 2021. The lawmakers are asking Amazon to provide answers about why the company is reportedly failing to build a safe room at the Edwardsville facility, even after the deadly December 2021 collapse. 


“Amazon has a responsibility to make the modest investments necessary to ensure that workers in its Edwardsville facility are protected from future disasters… Your company’s reported decision to rebuild the Edwardsville warehouse to the same condition as when six workers died there last year suggests that you are once again putting your profits over workers’ safety,” wrote the lawmakers. 


A copy of this letter can be found HERE.


Amazon’s shelter-in-place location at the Edwardsville facility was only a windowless room not built specifically to protect workers from tornadoes, and very different from a storm shelter designed to survive a severe weather event. The lawmakers note that despite Amazon’s billions in profits, it reportedly won’t pay for the minimal cost of constructing a storm shelter or safe room at its rebuilt Edwardsville facility, which is in Wind Zone IV, FEMA’s highest tornado risk area. 


Given Amazon’s reported refusal to rebuild its Edwardsville warehouse without making key safety improvements, even after the death of six workers, the lawmakers are calling on Amazon to revise its approach to protect its workers and to answer a set of questions about its plans to rebuild the Edwardsville warehouse by January 14, 2022.  


In December 2021, directly after this tragic event, the lawmakers sent an additional letter demanding answers from Amazon’s Executive Chairman, Jeff Bezos, and its President and CEO, Andy Jassy, about the circumstances that led to the death of six employees.  In March 2022, the Congresswomen, alongside Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, officially launched an oversight investigation into Amazon’s labor practices. In September, Congresswoman Bush introduced two bills in response to this tragedy - the Workers Safety in Climate Disaster Act, which would prevent workers from being fired for seeking shelter during disasters and offer paid time off for workers affected by those disasters, and the Wind Safety Standard Act, which would require the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to create a Wind Safety Standard modeled after the Heat Safety Standard to protect workers put in danger in the workplace by high wind conditions. 




Congresswoman Cori Bush sits on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, serves as the Progressive Caucus Deputy Whip, and proudly represents St. Louis as a politivist in the halls of the United States Congress.