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Bernie Sanders Launches Senate Inquiry into Amazon’s Safety Practices, Asks Employees to Share Their Stories

NEW YORK — Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has launched a Senate probe into Amazon’s warehouse safety practices. This is the latest in a series of investigations he has initiated against large corporations as chairman of the commission overseeing health and labor issues.

Sanders, a two-time presidential candidate who has spent a lifetime as a politician vying for corporate and vested interests over policies he believes hurts the working class, said Tuesday that Amazon CEO Andy Jassy , accusing Amazon’s e-commerce giant of “significantly deteriorating health and safety.” violation. “

Senate Health, Education and Labor Party chairman Sanders said, “The company’s quest for profit at all costs is linked to a dangerous physical environment, intense pressure to work for unsustainable wages, and tens of thousands of jobs being lost each year. “This has led to inadequate medical care for Amazon employees.” the Pensions Commission said in a letter.

The 81-year-old progressive senator also accused the company, which operates a vast network of warehouses across the United States, from implementing “adequate worker protections” due to a corporate culture that treats workers as disposable. bottom.

Amazon spokesman Steve Kelly said the company had received Sanders’ letter and was in the early stages of reviewing it.

“We take the safety and health of our employees very seriously,” Kelly said. “There are always ways to improve, but we are proud of our progress so far, including a 23% reduction in recorded injuries across our U.S. operations since 2019.”

Kelly also said the company has invested more than $1 billion in safety efforts over the past four years and will continue to invest in this area.

Injury numbers at Amazon are generally higher than those of its peers, and critics and occupational safety experts say the pace of the company’s warehouses, which track productivity and allow customers to receive packages quickly Blame it for being fast. Trade unions have tackled the problem with the aim of organizing workers, some of which have borne fruit, but have not led to a wave of large-scale unionization.

In the letter, Mr. Sanders said the company has appealed the ruling that Amazon has been summoned by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for workplace safety violations. He also pointed to a separate investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York that the agency called “potential fraud” by Amazon to cover up damage from OSHA and others.

Injuries across its U.S. operations, including back injuries, strains and sprains, declined slightly last year to 6.7% per 200,000 hours worked, the company said. However, these numbers were still high compared to 2020.

In his letter, Mr. Sanders also referenced a report from a coalition of three unions that said the number of serious injuries at Amazon last year was more than double that of other warehouse sectors. Amazon disputes some of the findings.

“There are always ways for critics to piece together the data to fit their claims, but the fact is we are making progress and the numbers clearly show that,” Kelly said.

The Amazon investigation follows similar investigations by a Senate committee into Starbucks and drug giant Moderna. As part of its investigation into Amazon, the commission is asking Amazon employees to submit testimonials about their experiences working for the company through its website. The commission said the submissions would be treated confidentially.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times LLC. Bernie Sanders Launches Senate Inquiry into Amazon’s Safety Practices, Asks Employees to Share Their Stories

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