Amazon said to be impeding House probe of warehouse collapse

Congressional Democrats are accusing Amazon of “obstructing” their investigation into the company’s labor practices during severe weather events.

Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform have sent a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, saying the company has failed to produce materials requested more than two months ago.

The committee, which launched the investigation in late March, gave the Seattle-based e-commerce company a list of materials to hand over by mid-April.

But the company “still has not produced any of the key categories of documents identified by Committee staff, let alone the full set of materials the Committee requested in March,” said the letter signed by committee chairwoman Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, a Democrat from New York. The letter was also signed by progressives Reps. Cori Bush, of Missouri, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York.

“Unfortunately, Amazon has failed to meaningfully comply with the Committee’s requests, obstructing the Committee’s investigation,” they wrote in the letter made public Thursday, adding that the company has only produced “an incomplete set of policies and procedures.”

Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, said the company was “surprised” to receive the letter. She said Amazon began providing materials to the committee two weeks after receiving the initial request and has produced more than 1,500 pages of information.

“As we have done from the start, we will continue to work with Committee staff on further document production — which includes the most recent materials we shared on June 1,” Nantel said.

The company’s labor policies during extreme weather events has been under increased scrutiny since the December collapse of a company warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, where six people died and another was critically injured in a tornado strike.

Last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration wrapped up its own probe into the incident, concluding that Amazon met minimal federal safety requirements for storm sheltering. But regulators also found safety risks and called on the company to improve its procedures.

The letter said the company has not produced any internal communications related to the Edwardsville tornado to the committee, which is doing its own investigation into the incident.

The committee is also seeking documents showing how Amazon managed its workforce during other natural disasters, including wildfires in California in 2018.

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