Edwardsville, IL

The Amazon Tragedy In Edwardsville Reflects How Much The Value Of A Person's Life Is Dependent On Their Social Standing.


How much clout does one really need to be valued?

Bryan Angelo/Unsplash

The Amazon juggernaut is known for many things, but protecting the rights of the worker is not one of them. In fact, this latest saga already involves Amazon not protecting the lives of their workers appropriately.

An EF-3 grade tornado swept through Edwardsville, IL on December 11, 2021, which struck the Amazon warehouse located there. There were six confirmed fatalities in that incident.

For the record, an EF-3 grade tornado is one that is expected to cause severe damage with wind speeds of 136–165 miles per hour (mph). Even Doc Emmett Brown’s DeLorean car only required a speed of 88 mph to travel in time — this EF-3 tornado had wind speeds that were much higher than Doc Brown’s DeLorean.

The incredulity would be that no one noticed the EF-3 storm coming their way?

But then again, if we were to look at Tropical Depression Ida hitting New York City in August, just 4 months prior to this Edwardsville incident, one which killed at least 14 people:

The National Weather Service issued its first-ever flash flood emergency for the region. City residents received emergency alert warnings on their cell phones that read, “do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.” Yet communications shared anonymously with Earther suggest that was not a good enough excuse for Amazon workers to miss their shifts. No matter the life-threatening dangers they could face on their way in, the people needed their Prime deliveries apparently.

Yes, Amazon workers in New York were still being told to go to work, despite an emergency alert warning/telling all city residents to not travel unless fleeing flood-prone areas or being under an evacuation order.

It was not a good enough excuse for Amazon workers to miss their shifts.

That being for a flood.

What about a tornado?

It’s still not a good enough excuse.

I remember my first time sitting in a windowless basement while hiding out a tornado. Seasoned Illinois residents who have experienced sufficient tornado warnings would have gone to take cover in safe spots and not ventured out on the roads. But even then, I remember the fear and uncertainty just hiding in the basement of my apartment building while not knowing how long the tornado would remain in the region, and what if it were to actually hit the building I was in.

What about the poor souls at the Amazon warehouse? Amazon wouldn’t let them leave, according to the last message coming from one of the victims in the warehouse.

Would they have had enough time to respond to a tornado warning and search for a safe spot to hide out the tornado?

The warehouse ended up getting destroyed, and part of it ended up collapsing and killing the people inside — who were in the middle of a shift change at 8.30pm when the tornado struck. Multiple others remain trapped within the collapsed rubble. Did the warehouse even have a safe spot for people to take cover from actual tornadoes?

Would other people travelling to work at that time have been affected by the tornado, too?

As we can see, there was a shift change. One group of people would have finished work, and another group would be coming in to replace them.

When there were severe weather warnings involved.

It tellingly reflects on Amazon management being more concerned about the workers meeting their quotas than on their health and safety, no?

But unfortunately, when one is working in Amazon, one doesn’t really have much of a say about their own wellbeing or mental health, even.

After all, it looks as if Amazon’s resident billionaire Jeff Bezos is more interested in his space travel jaunts than in the health and safety of the Amazon workers in Edwardsville, IL, no?

It looks as if he was cheering his latest group of space tourists on while rescuers in Edwardsville were trying to find survivors:

And of course, amidst this disaster, state police are sending ablebodied employees home — only for Amazon’s Employee Resource Center (ERC) to mark them as missing their shifts:

But when workers are subjected to terribly exploitative working conditions, it’s easy to see how their lives can be devalued so greatly.

After all, they have no money to their name that they can part with for a trip to space.

And that’s the scary thing about working these days, depending on what organisation one is working for — their physical health, their mental health, even their lives may be at stake… all for the sake of earning a paltry few dollars per hour that Jeff Bezos can pull in within a mere few milliseconds.

And that is true exploitative dehumanisation right there. With insufficient pay, of course.

But the irony is that some businesses will claim that robots will be used to replace minimum wage jobs if the minimum wage is increased, no? But why is it that there is a shortage of people to fill these minimum wage jobs these days? Can’t robots be used for those jobs as businesses desire?

Otherwise there will always be that class divide and that struggle.

I’m expecting that there will be some legitimate lawsuits aimed at Amazon in the near future.

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