Of all of the complaints that Americans have about Amazon, from their unethical advertising standards to their delivery difficulties, perhaps none is as abhorrent a concern as the treatment of their employees.
We’ve all heard the horror stories: Warehouse pickers forced to urinate in bottle or wear diapers in order to make their quotas. Driver run ragged on nearly impossible routes.
But now, text messages received by the partner of a now-deceased Amazon employee suggest that one of the company’s latest decisions could have been responsible for their death.
An Amazon worker who was killed in the Edwardsville, Illinois, warehouse collapse wasn’t allowed to leave as a tornado was approaching, his girlfriend told the New York Post.
Larry Virden, who started working for Amazon five months ago, was among the six employees who died in the destruction. A large wall in the warehouse and a section of roof collapsed.Trending:
Virden’s girlfriend, Cherie Jones, told the Post in an article published Sunday that she was texting him shortly before.
“He always tells me when he is filling up the Amazon truck when he is getting ready to go back … I was like ‘OK, I love you.’ He’s like, ‘well Amazon won’t let me leave until after the storm blows over,'” she told the Post.
And it gets worse:
Jones told the Post that Virden texted her 16 minutes before the tornado was said to have touched down. She said this was enough time to get back to their house in nearby Collinsville, which she said was a 13-minute drive away.
“We heard the tornado didn’t touch down until 8:39 so he had 20 minutes to get home,” she told the Post.
Jones said Virden sent his text at about 8:23 p.m.
“I messaged him and that was the last text message I got from him,” she told the Post. “I told him where we live, it was only lightning at the time. After that, I got nothing from him.”
Jones was benevolent, however, stating that she was not blaming Amazon for her partner’s death, but was curious as to whether or not things would have turned out differently had Virden been allowed to leave.