“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx
Jan 3, 2022
The candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky and the Amazon distribution center in Edwardsville, Illinois that were hit by tornadoes on December 10, did not have to end in the deaths of 14 workers. Eight workers at the candle factory and six workers at the Amazon warehouse were killed.
Why? An act of nature? Hardly. The storm causing these tornadoes was predicted several days in advance. The National Weather Service was putting out regular alert bulletins and alarms on cell phones in affected areas. These tornadoes were not a surprise, they did not come out of the blue.
There was no safe shelter in the factory or the warehouse to protect workers. The roofs were blown off, the walls fell inward, crushing and trapping workers. There needed to be a safe place where workers could go. A safe place that they had practiced going to.
And then there is the question of why the workers were still working. Sometimes plants have been closed for a shift or two for weather emergencies. But this happened during the Christmas rush season. The candle factory workers were working overtime to fill store shelves with scented candles, while the Amazon workers were fulfilling customers’ Christmas orders. The managers were pushing production.
No. This was no act of nature. This is the normal functioning of a capitalist society. The focus of the bosses is not the health and safety of workers. Their focus is on production and making profits even at the expense of workers lives.