Amazon employees allege unsafe working conditions at St. Peters warehouse

AMAZON WORKERS marched on the boss at the company’s STL8 warehouse in May to demand safer working conditions and an independent safety audit. – STL8 Organizing Committee photo

Workers filed an OSHA complaint and are urging action from federal regulators


St. Peters, MO — Amazon workers here say they are rushed to pack and carry containers and the repetitive motions are causing frequent injuries.

Workers shared their stories at a news conference Aug. 3 announcing a complaint filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Wendy Taylor, who has worked as a packer at the facility for three years, said Amazon doesn’t support employees who are hurt on the job. When employees are injured, she said, their complaints are downplayed.

“They repeatedly gaslit my injuries,” Taylor said at the news conference, organized by the Missouri Workers Center.

“I know I’m not the only worker at STL8 feeling pushed to my limits, mentally and physically,”  said Taylor, who tore her meniscus from a fall while working at the STL8 warehouse and suffered from neglectful treatment by AmCare, Amazon’s in-house health facility. 

“We have no future if we don’t take matters into our own hands and take back our lives from a company that continues to dehumanize us for the sake of profits,” she said.

Taylor said leg pain kept her up at night after she tripped over a crate in March. An on-site medical team gave her ice and heat treatment. After that, she said the company sent her back to work and told her she’d need to seek medical care on her own time.

“My experience with AmCare taught me that Amazon doesn’t care,” Taylor said. “Everyone deserves to be compensated fairly, to feel safe on the job, and to be treated with respect for their work. We need OSHA and federal lawmakers to do everything in their power to hold Amazon accountable to making this a reality for all of its workers. I’m proud of my coworkers at STL8 for standing together, and I want to see workers from every corner of the country come together to fight until we win.”

Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-Mo.) shared a video statement with the online press briefing expressing solidarity with Missouri Amazon workers.

In a written statement, Bush said: “I am glad that the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) has launched a separate investigation into Amazon’s safety record and its treatment of injured workers. The results of this investigation, alongside OSHA’s STL8 investigation, will continue our quest to expose what workers in St. Louis and globally are experiencing as employees for the second largest company and employer in the world.”

Among the panelists at the news conference, Jordan Barab, former deputy assistant Secretary of Labor at OSHA, said Amazon has the legal responsibility and in-house expertise to make its operations safer — but simply fails to use that expertise to put workers’ safety first.

“The ergonomic hazards, the pace of work, and Amazon’s disciplinary system work together to undermine worker safety.” Barab said. “And Amazon’s flawed medical practices ensure that injured workers receive inadequate treatment for their injuries.”

Dr. Peter Orris, former chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of Illinois Health, said AmCare facilities are typically staffed not by nurses or doctors, but by Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and athletic trainers.

“These EMTs and athletic trainers are not equipped to handle the types of injuries that warehouse workers suffer,” Orris said.

Following visits to Washington, D.C., earlier this year by STL8 worker Jennifer Crane and other Amazon workers, the Senate HELP committee launched an investigation into Amazon’s warehouse working conditions. In a letter to the company’s Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind.-Vt.), in his role as the HELP Committee chair, specifically requested information regarding the conditions at the STL8 fulfillment center.

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