After posting a tweet denying that their workers are forced to urinate in plastic water bottles due to labour conditions, Amazon was hit with replies from journalists and former workers claiming otherwise.
The tweet came after Amazon Executive Dave Clark posted a link to an article where Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said he was meeting with Amazon employees in Alabama who are hoping to unionise.
It would be the first union in Amazon’s history.
In the tweet, Clark mocked Sanders, saying,
“I welcome @SenSanders to Birmingham and appreciate his push for a progressive workplace. I often say we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace.”
Amazon recently raised its minimum wage in the US to $15.
Clark’s tweet was then quote tweeted by Wisconsin politician Mark Porcan, who wrote, “Paying workers $15/hr doesn’t make you a “progressive workplace” when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles.”
The official Amazon News account then responded, “you don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing do you?”
1/2 You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us. The truth is that we have over a million incredible employees around the world who are proud of what they do, and have great wages and health care from day one.
— Amazon News (@amazonnews) March 25, 2021
The tweet immediately received ire from former Amazon workers and journalists, who provided evidence of workers, namely drivers, urinating in bottles so they could make their quotas.
i worked for you once and i went out to the bathroom twice in a work day and a couple days later i was reprimanded for this saying that i didnt make rate. i never like to talk about this but i think it's cool for this one time so sincerely eat shit amazon news rep
— liz (@_lizlet) March 25, 2021
I got photos of Amazon workers' pee bottles. They are, in fact, real. https://t.co/vYnkvf4CTm
— Lauren Kaori Gurley (@LaurenKGurley) March 25, 2021
As a labor reporter who covers Amazon extensively…I can say Amazon delivery drivers not having a time or place to pee is one of the most universal concerns I hear about https://t.co/pG81MDf5TU pic.twitter.com/h3pGhOok1y
— Lauren Kaori Gurley (@LaurenKGurley) March 25, 2021
I've worked for amazon for 3 months (quitting tomorrow) and can 100% confirm this. Several of my coworkers have talked ab developing UTIs from holding their bladders so frequently.
— lowercase (@downsideleft) March 25, 2021
According to news outlet The Intercept, a document marked ‘Amazon Confidential’ outlined infractions by employees of Amazon, including “public urination” and “public defecation”. As well as urinating in bottles, the publication reports, drivers ended up defecating in bags.
The Intercept says that this, as well as conversations with workers and leaked emails, is evidence that managers were aware that workers – particularly drivers – were urinating in bottles.
In the leaked email, an Amazon logistics manager wrote, “we’ve noticed an uptick recently of all kinds of unsanitary garbage being left inside bags: used masks, gloves, bottles of urine…please be explicit when communicating the message that they CANNOT poop, or leave bottles of urine inside bags.”
Amazon employs almost 1.3 million people globally.
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