WASHINGTON — The e-commerce giant Amazon falsely denied that some of its drivers were sometimes forced to urinate in plastic bottles to apologize to members of Congress.
Last week, a tweet from Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, started.
Pocan tweeted: “Paying workers at a rate of $15 an hour does not make you a’progressive workplace’, which makes workers urinate in water bottles and urinates in urinals. .”
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Amazon’s official account quickly responded: “You really don’t believe what’s in the urinal, do you? If that’s true, then no one will work for us.”
However, several news media subsequently quoted many Amazon employees as saying that, in fact, they had no choice but to use plastic bottles.
The Intercept website said it has obtained internal documents showing that Amazon executives are aware of this practice.
The worker’s testimony highlights the dissatisfaction of many Amazon employees, whether in processing facilities or among drivers, who complain about their relentless pace of work.
Amazon said in a statement late Friday: “We want to apologize to Representative Pokan.”
“This tweet is incorrect. It does not take into account our huge number of drivers, but mistakenly focuses on our fulfillment centers,” it said. Each service center has dozens of staff available.” Use the restroom at any time.
Amazon continued: “We know that drivers will and do have difficulty finding restrooms due to traffic jams or sometimes rural routes, especially when many public restrooms have been closed during Covid.”
It described the problem as “a long-term, industry-wide problem” and added: “We want to solve this problem.”
The apology did not satisfy Pocan, who responded on Twitter on Saturday:
“Sigh. It’s not about me, but about your workers. You didn’t treat them with full respect or dignity.
“First realize that the working conditions you create for all employees are insufficient, then solve this problem for everyone, and finally let them unionize without interference.”
On Monday, workers at Amazon’s large processing plant in Bessemer, Alabama, completed a vote on whether to join a union. The plan was strongly opposed by the company. The results have not yet been announced.
Amazon has successfully boycotted unionized work elsewhere in the United States, even though most of its facilities in Europe are unionized.
The company insists that according to American standards, its workers should enjoy good salaries and benefits.