More news is still pouring out as people try and come to terms with what exactly went down at the Amazon warehouse that collapsed in Edwardsville, Illinois Friday night.
So far the number of deaths from the unfortunate incident totals 6 with many more injured. Folks have heavily criticized Jeff Bezos‘ management of the tragedy. The Amazon founder seemed way more focused on documenting Michael Strahan’s trip to space, instead of being worried about what was happening to his actual employees in Illinois.
Current and former Amazon employees have recently publicly criticized a company policy that does not allow cell phones in the workplace, claiming that if people in the warehouse would’ve had their cell phones the tragic outcome could’ve perhaps been avoided.
The Cell Phone Ban Has Been A Long Standing Amazon Policy
According to people within the organization, Amazon has had this no cell phone policy in place for quite a while now. The company has essentially argued that they keep this type of policy in place for safety reasons. As being on their cell phone could distract employees and leave them more vulnerable to a work place accident. The cell phone ban was relaxed a bit through the COVID pandemic.
Although the reasons why the policy was relaxed during this time are a bit unclear. Maybe it was a way of incentivizing the workers who had to come to work when everyone else was in full lockdown mode. As the world has slowly but steadily gotten back to normal, the ban on cell phones has returned to Amazon warehouses.
Amazon Employees Are Not Keen To Leave Their Safety Up To The Company
In the wake of the tragedy, although Bezos was surprisingly quiet, current Amazon employees from other parts of the country were very vocal. Two current employees interviewed by Bloomberg brought up the issue of the cell phone ban. They claim that they are not ok with leaving their safety completely in the hands of Amazon. With one of them going as far as to say he would resign if Amazon put the no cell phone policy back in. The employees mentioned,
“After these deaths, there is no way in hell I am relying on Amazon to keep me safe. If they institute the no cell phone policy, I am resigning.” another employee interviewed by Bloomberg added,
“I don’t trust them with my safety to be quite frank. If there’s severe weather on the way, I think I should be able to make my own decision about safety.”
Advocacy Groups Are Coming After Amazon For Ignoring Worker Safety
The cell phone issue seems to be part of a bigger debate.
In simple terms, people want to know why Amazon did not evacuate the property when there were tornado warnings in effect in the area. Now, advocacy group Warehouse Workers for Justice is calling on lawmakers in Illinois to investigate the issue thoroughly. Employees that brought up the cell phone issue are potentially adding fuel to the fire.
As we mentioned before, it does seem like the bigger issue is why the workers were in the warehouse to begin with, since a tornado warning was in effect. The fact that they were left without any type of external communication certainly adds insult to injury.