The U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee has launched an investigation into Amazon’s labor practices surrounding severe weather events. The investigation mainly focuses on the company’s warehouse in Illinois. At this location, six people died in a tornado last winter. The committee will check for any possible lapses on Amazon’s part. According to previous reports, the presence of a tornado does not stop Amazon employees from working. An anonymous source claims that “even if a tornado swept the region, Amazon employees would be fired if they left their jobs without consent. Even with an active tornado warning, courier dispatchers cannot recall drivers”.
Eventually, a tornado hit an Amazon warehouse, which collapsed and killed six people. The committee is reportedly seeking documents and communications from Amazon over the next two weeks. It is asking for documentation on the company’s emergency preparedness requirements, conducting drills, and “all communications between managers, employees or contractors regarding employment responsibilities and the company logs”. Chief of all the documents it needs is the company’s protocols during severe weather events, and more.
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The committee also wants documents about Amazon’s internal review or investigation of the incident, as well as information about any discipline employees and contractors face in Illinois and elsewhere. Amazon was asked to provide the documents by April 14.
This is not the first U.S. government investigation into the death of an Amazon employee. In December, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched its own investigation after two groups of lawmakers sent letters demanding answers. The company didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. However, a spokesperson told The New York Times: “Our focus remains on supporting our employees and partners, bereaved families, surrounding communities, and everyone affected by the tornado. We’ll get back to the committee in due course.”
Amazon’s new CEO’s first-year salary is $212.7 million
Amazon CEO, Andy Jassy will receive a salary worth $212.7 million in 2021. The bulk of his compensation comes from stock awards, totaling $211.9 million. According to Amazon’s proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the 61,000 shares that make up the stock award are a special reward for his promotion to Amazon’s president and CEO.
In February 2021, Jassy was named Amazon’s CEO, succeeding company founder, Jeff Bezos. Bezos announces transition from CEO to executive chairman. However, Jassy officially took office in early July of that year.
Furthermore, Amazon said more than 80% of Jassy’s shares will vest over the next five to 10 years. The shares will also represent the bulk of Jassy’s compensation over the next few years. “Faced with CEO succession for the first time in company history,” Amazon said, “the company compensation committee decided it was important to provide clarity and stability through a reward designed to build a long-term owner perspective as well as encourage bold long-term initiatives.”