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Amazon denies obstruction allegation tied to Edwardsville fatalities

By KEVIN BESSLER, The Center Square

Amazon is denying allegations of obstructing a congressional investigation into the company’s labor practices during severe weather events in connection to a deadly tornado last December.

Six workers died when part of Amazon’s Edwardsville facility collapsed. Many of the victims were contracted delivery drivers who pulled into the facility just before the storm hit and fled to a bathroom in an area of the building that was hit by the storm.

In a letter addressed to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform chairwoman, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said the company has “failed to produce” key documents requested by lawmakers related to the collapse.

“Unfortunately, Amazon has failed to meaningfully comply with the Committee’s requests, obstructing the Committee’s investigation,” they wrote in the letter made public Thursday.

Jack Casciato, partner at Clifford Law Offices who is representing the family of a delivery driver who was killed, said Amazon’s refusal to hand over documents is not surprising.

“We expect, of course, in any major case defendants oftentimes push back on disclosing documents and oftentimes asserting wrongful privileges,” said Casciato.

The company’s labor policies during extreme weather events have been under scrutiny since the collapse. Last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration wrapped up its own probe into the incident, concluding that Amazon met minimal federal safety requirements for storm sheltering.

An Amazon spokesperson told The Center Square the company has been cooperating from the very start.

“We were surprised to receive this letter because we began producing materials to the Committee just two weeks after receiving its initial request and have produced more than 1,500 pages of responsive information,” said Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel in a statement. “As we have done from the start, we will continue to work with Committee staff on further document production — which includes the most recent materials we shared on June 1.”

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