April 5, 2021 2:54:04 pm
Amazon has issued an apology to US politician Mark Pocan for falsely denying that its drivers are, at times, forced to urinate in bottles.
After the politician referenced Amazon in his Tweet for making “workers urinate in water bottles”, a response from the official Amazon Twitter handle read: “You don’t really believe the peeing bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us.”
Shortly after, evidence emerged of drivers being compelled to urinate in bottles. Several news outlets quoted Amazon employees who confirmed that they had been left with no option but to urinate in plastic bottles. The employees also spoke about Amazon’s harsh work practices at their fulfilment centres. It has been reported that Amazon executives were aware of these practices.
Amazon later retracted its statement and apologised. In a statement, Amazon said, “We owe an apology to Representative Pocan,” adding further, “The tweet was incorrect. It did not contemplate our large driver population and instead focused only on our fulfilment centres.” Amazon said that all of its fulfilment centres have toilets available to employees “at any time”.
Amazon also said that they are looking to find solutions for the long-standing issue.
“We know that drivers can and do have trouble finding restrooms because of traffic or sometimes rural routes, and this has been especially the case during Covid when many public restrooms have been closed.”
However, Pocan rejected the apology and tweeted, “Sigh. this is not about me, this is about your workers – who you don’t treat with enough respect or dignity. Start by acknowledging the inadequate working conditions you’ve created for ALL your workers, then fix that for everyone and finally, let them unionise without interference.”
Representative Pocan had previously tweeted: “Paying workers $15/hr doesn’t make you a ‘progressive workplace’ when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles.”
Pocan is among the many US politicians who have criticised Amazon in the recent past for blocking its workers from unionising, and for their anti-union strategies targeting warehouse workers in Alabama, who are currently in the process of forming a union.
(With inputs from the BBC)
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