Citing Trump Administration Inaction, Sanders and Omar Pursue Oversight Effort on Amazon Workplace Abuse

December 19, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON—In the face of the Trump Administration’s continued failure to hold Amazon accountable for endemic abuses at its warehouses, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) are demanding detailed information from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding injury reports at Amazon facilities over the past three years.

“Working conditions in the United States of America should be the best and safest in the world,” write Sanders and Omar. “Unfortunately,” workers at Amazon facilities suffer from “continued egregious safety lapses.” The two lawmakers cite Amazon’s own injury records, recently revealed in a Center for Investigative Reporting exposé, that demonstrate that the company’s rate of serious injuries is more than double the average of warehouses nationwide. Due to the company’s pressure on warehouse employees during the holiday shopping season, the first two weeks of December are the most dangerous of the year for Amazon workers.

In July, Sen. Sanders and Rep. Omar led a dozen lawmakers in calling for OSHA to launch a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the workplace conditions at all of Amazon’s warehouses, and urged OSHA to prosecute any uncovered abuses to the fullest extent of the law. OSHA’s response to the members of Congress did not commit to conducting any new investigations or to the enforcement of violations at Amazon.

OSHA’s inaction reflects a deliberate shift by the Trump Administration toward weaker workplace protections. OSHA’s own data reveal a notable decline in the number of inspectors and worksite inspections.

“Given your agency’s lack of attention to this very serious matter,” Sanders and Omar conclude, OSHA must now produce injury reports “for all Amazon facilities.” By law, this data must be visibly posted on the worksite and made available to employees, former employees, and representatives of employees. As the injury reports are stored in an easily shared data file, the two lawmakers estimate that it should take no more than a day for OSHA to comply with this request.

Read the letter here.