One man’s text message to his girlfriend just before a tornado killed him and at least five of his coworkers at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois Friday has sparked bipartisan outrage.
Tragedy has unified left and right against the online retail giant.
WHAT HE SAID
Larry Virden, a 46-year-old Army veteran and father of four, texted his girlfriend that Amazon would not allow employees to leave the Edwardsville warehouse that was struck by a tornado just 16 minutes later.
Horrifying details are emerging about the tornado disaster at Amazon's warehouse in Illinois, where at least 6 workers were killed on the job.
Before he died, Larry Virden reportedly texted his girlfriend: "Amazon won’t let us leave." He leaves behind four children. pic.twitter.com/3ZRLik9VIs
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) December 13, 2021
A Navy veteran and the single mother of an infant were also among those who died on the job as part of an outbreak of tornadoes across eight states Friday night and early Saturday morning that killed dozens of people.
Critics on the left highlighted Virden’s death to criticize Amazon’s labor practices and lobbying efforts against workplace safety regulations.
A striking detail here: The staffing firm that Amazon uses to staff its Edwardsville warehouse, where 6 workers were killed in a tornado, is a member of a trade group that opposed Illinois legislation that would have protected workers attempting to flee dangerous situations. https://t.co/Kb5qRJGlCi
— Julia Rock (@jul1arock) December 14, 2021
Some conservatives raised similar issues, while others pointed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezo’s detachment from the fate of his workers.
Bezos Parties After Leaving Trapped Amazon Workers To Die As Tornado Shredded The Warehousehttps://t.co/E3rA1r6x1O
— The Federalist (@FDRLST) December 14, 2021
On Twitter Friday, Bezos said Amazon was “heartbroken over the loss of our teammates” in Edwardsville and promised the company’ would support “their families and loved ones.”
(2/2) All of Edwardsville should know that the Amazon team is committed to supporting them and will be by their side through this crisis. We extend our fullest gratitude to all the incredible first responders who have worked so tirelessly at the site.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) December 12, 2021