Amazon apologises for tweet denying workers are forced to urinate in bottles

Amazon has apologised for sending a tweet denying workers are forced to urinate in bottles.

The company apologised in a blog post posted late on Friday for a tweet it sent to a US congressman denying that its employees work so hard they must urinate in empty water bottles.

It admitted that some delivery drivers have done this and vowed to improve working conditions.

The matter was first raised on 24 March by Wisconsin Representative Mark Pocan, who 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,” Mr Pocan wrote.

Amazon responded: “You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us.”

Mark Pocan
Image:Wisconsin Representative Mark Pocan raised the issue with Amazon on Twitter. File pic

In the blog post, Amazon apologised to Mr Pocan and acknowledged that delivery drivers “can and do have trouble finding restrooms because of traffic or sometimes rural routes”.

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The online shopping giant said COVID-19 has made the issue worse, since many public restrooms are closed.

“Sigh,” Pocan said in a tweet sent on Saturday morning.

“This is not about me, this is about your workers-who you don’t treat with enough respect or dignity.”

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 from other delivery companies who have had to do the same.

“Regardless of the fact that this is industry-wide, we would like to solve it,” the company said. “We don’t yet know how, but will look for solutions.”

Amazon’s treatment of workers has been a hot topic recently as it faces the biggest union push in its history at an Alabama warehouse.

Organisers there are pushing for more break time and better pay, with many complaining about the 10-hour workdays that include two 30-minute breaks.

Seattle-based Amazon didn’t respond to a request for comment when approached by news agency Reuters.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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