Amazon has apologised for a tweet it sent to a US politician more than a week ago denying the company’s employees work so hard they must urinate in empty water bottles.
The company also admitted that some delivery drivers might have had to urinate in bottles. And it vowed to improve their working conditions.
“Peeing in bottles”
The matter was first raised on 24 March by Wisconsin Representative Mark Poca. He responded to a tweet by an Amazon executive that said the company was a progressive workplace.
Paying workers $15/hr doesn’t make you a ‘progressive workplace’ when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us.
In a blog post on Friday 2 April, Amazon apologised to Pocan. The company acknowledged that delivery drivers “can and do have trouble finding restrooms because of traffic or sometimes rural routes”.
The online shopping giant said coronavirus (Covid-19) has made the issue worse, since many public restrooms are closed.
“Sigh,” Pocan responded in a tweet on 3 April. He added:
This is not about me, this is about your workers—who you don’t treat with enough respect or dignity.
Treatment of workers
Amazon wrote in its blog post that urinating in bottles is an industry-wide problem. To try and prove its point, it shared links to news articles about drivers for other delivery companies who have had to do so.
This may not be seen as particularly sincere: dropped late on Good Friday. Admits workers do pee in bottles, but shares exhaustive list of how it affects other companies too.
— Dave Lee (@DaveLeeFT) April 3, 2021
Amazon’s treatment of workers has attracted criticism for some time. The company is currently facing the biggest union push in its history at an Alabama warehouse.
Organisers there are pushing for more break time and better pay. And many are complaining about the back-breaking 10-hour workdays that include only two 30-minute breaks.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.Support us and go ad-free
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.