2021 Amazon warehouse collapse

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On the evening of 2021-12-10 (Friday), a delivery warehouse owned and operated by Amazon.com in Edwardsville, Illinois was hit by a tornado – part of a [[wikipedia:Tornado outbreak of December 10–11, 2021|cluster of tornadoes which hit the midwest throughout the evening and into the early morning – and collapsed, killing at least six workers there:

  • Austin J. McEwen, 26
  • Deandre S. Morrow, 28, of St. Louis, Missouri
  • Kevin D. Dickey, 62, of Carlyle, Illinois
  • Clayton Lynn Cope, 29, of Alton, Illinois
  • Etheria S. Hebb, 24, of St. Louis, Missouri
  • Larry E. Virden, 46, of Collinsville, Illinois
    • Before he died, he had texted his girlfriend: "Amazon won't let us leave."

Only 7 of 190 workers at the site were full-time staff, which is in line with Amazon's unspoken policy of depending heavily on contract labor in order to avoid liability and unionization.

A tornado warning was issued about half an hour before the incident, but Amazon executives instructed workers to take shelter and reportedly refused to allow them leave the site – which has also been a pattern for them.

Phone Policy

There have been repeated reports of workers being prohibited from carrying their phones in to work, which Amazon officials have denied. Lives may have been saved because several workers violated this policy. Whether or not there was such a policy, the fact that workers have been under the impression it exists suggests at best negligence on Amazon's part to clarify their actual policy, and at worst intentionally misleading workers.


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