Michigan Congresswomen Call For Investigation Into Working Conditions At Amazon Fulfillment Centers

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Photo credit Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images
By WWJ Newsradio 950

(WWJ) A pair of Congresswomen from Michigan are calling for an investigation into working conditions at Amazon fulfillment centers; including one in metro Detroit. 

Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) and Debbie Dingell (MI-12) on Wednesday sent Deputy Assistant Secretary for Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Loren Sweatt a letter, requesting that OSHA conduct an immediate investigation into workplace safety in Amazon facilities nationwide and issue guidance to Amazon about policies it must implement to keep their workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter comes after several workers have raised concerns with the representatives about a lack of protection from COVID-19.

It cites a summary of conditions workers have observed in Amazon’s DTW1 Romulus facility including: lack of social distancing of workstations, lack of cleaning supplies and no increase in cleaning of the facility, lack of notification of positive cases among the workforce, and Amazon’s refusal to implement and maintain leave policies to allow workers to stay home to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

“Since March of this year and the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, our offices have been in regular contact with many constituents who work in warehouse and fulfillment facilities for Amazon,” the lawmakers wrote. “While Amazon has provided our offices with an accounting of the corporate policies they have announced, we have consistently heard from our constituents that these policies are not being implemented on the ground by Amazon management in their warehouse facilities. Worker concerns persist, from an inability to maintain social distancing to a lack of personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer. This is not isolated to our districts, as reports continue to surface across the country about unsafe conditions in Amazon facilities and Amazon workers dying from COVID-19.”

Amazon has constantly been in the news regarding workplace safety and allegations of retaliation against workers who speak out, the congresswomen said. 

Reps. Tlaib and Dingell added that they've tried to work with the company to address the concerns of workers, but workers tell them that little has changed. 

“In light of the continued spread of COVID-19 through Amazon facilities, the number of workers affected, and the millions of packages leaving their warehouses during this crisis, we request that OSHA conduct an immediate investigation into workplace safety in Amazon facilities nationwide and issue guidance to Amazon about policies it must implement to keep their workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter continues

Tlaib and Dingell have asked Deputy Assistant Secretary Sweatt for a prompt reply to their ask to ensure workers are protected and provided with a safe workplace.

Read the full letter here

There was no immediate comment from OSHA or Amazon regarding the the letter.