US Senator Bernie Sanders has launched an official investigation into Amazon’s working conditions and medical care in its warehouses with an open letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. Sanders, who chairs the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, describes the working conditions as “uniquely dangerous” and criticizes the company’s aggressive productivity targets. He also highlights the insufficient medical care on site. Sanders calls on Amazon to prioritize the safety of its employees and criticizes its profit-driven approach. He mentions at least 50 subpoenas from the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration for workplace health and safety violations, which Amazon has appealed against.
Amazon has strongly rejected Sanders’ allegations, stating that it takes the safety and health of its employees seriously. The company points to a 23% reduction in reportable injuries at its US operations since 2019 and more than $1 billion invested in security initiatives over the past four years. Amazon claims that the rate of reportable incidents has also decreased by 11% from 2021 to 2022.
Sanders has requested up-to-date information from Amazon on employee turnover, the cost of recommended safety measures, the alleged higher rate of injuries in robot-assisted warehouses, and employee healthcare. Amazon has until July 5, 2023, to respond. Sanders has not ruled out issuing a summons to the Senate.