Joliet, June 27, 2023 – Warehouse Workers for Justice (WWJ) has been engaging with MDW2 workers since we received news of the worker fatality on Friday, June 2. On Friday, June 9, workers hosted a gathering during lunch to pay tribute to their departed colleague, Roger Kieca.
Despite Amazon’s quick declaration that Roger died of natural causes and that his untimely death had nothing to do with his working conditions, Amazon’s internal healthcare service, “Amcare”, told 911 that dehydration was the cause of Roger’s medical crisis.
Given the high temperatures that day, and the fact that, according to city records, another warehouse worker was hospitalized across the street with “dizziness” just hours later, workplace conditions seem very likely to have been a contributing factor in this workplace tragedy.
“It is unconscionable that a worker died at MDW2 and, instead of a good faith and transparent review of internal policies that could have led to this tragedy, Amazon is doing whatever it can to sweep the incident under the rug,” said Marcos Ceniceros, Executive Director of Warehouse Workers for Justice. “Workers deserve to feel safe at work and that’s only possible when their employers are clear and honest in addressing workplace tragedies to ensure they never happen again.”
After weeks of engaging with workers, WWJ has a number of outstanding questions and concerns:
This is not the first time that emergency response protocols have been called into question at MDW2. When a maintenance technician died at the neighboring facility in 2019, a lawsuit alleged that Amazon failed to render emergency aid, waited to call the paramedics, and delayed them once they arrived at the facility.
According to the recent report “The Injury Machine”, despite being injured at nearly twice the rate as the industry average, Amazon workers are over 3x as likely to continue working through the injury. This abusive corporate practice has deadly consequences when workers experience grave medical situations, such as happened at the MDW2 facility on June 2.
In light of the deadly risks, we are calling on Amazon to share greater details around how it plans to minimize response time for medical emergencies. In the absence of that transparency, we are asking the relevant authorities to seek greater oversight of industry practices with regard to emergency medical services to ensure that all warehouse workers across Will County are kept safe.
Warehouse Workers for Justice will continue monitoring this situation and the broader workplace conditions at area warehouses. Should any workers feel unsafe at work, especially as Summer days make many warehouses dangerously hot, we urge them to reach out to us at (815) 722-5003.