E-commerce giant Amazon has apologized to a U.S. lawmaker after falsely denying that some of its drivers are forced to urinate in plastic bottles.
The flap began last week with a tweet from Wisconsin Democrat Mark Pocan.
“Paying workers $ 15 an hour doesn’t make you a‘ progressive job ’when you go back to unions and make workers urinate in water bottles,” Pocan tweeted in an apparent reference to the opposition from Amazon to efforts to syndicate a major facility in Alabama.
Amazon’s official account responded quickly by saying, “You don’t really believe in peeing in bottles, do you? If that were true, no one would work for us.”
But several media outlets then quoted numerous Amazon employees who said that, in fact, they had little choice but to use plastic bottles.
And The Intercept website said it had obtained internal documents showing that Amazon executives were aware of the practice.
The workers ’testimony underscored the complaints of many Amazon employees, both at their processing facilities and among their drivers, about what they say is a relentless pace of work.
“We have to apologize to Rep. Pocan,” Amazon said in a statement on Friday afternoon.
“The tweet was incorrect. It didn’t contemplate our large number of drivers, but instead focused wrongly only on our compliance centers,” each of which he said had dozens of restrooms that employees could use. ” anytime”.
Amazon continued: “We know that drivers can and have trouble finding toilets due to traffic or sometimes rural routes, and this has been especially the case during Covid, when many public restrooms have been closed.”
He described the problem as “a long-term problem across the industry,” adding, “we’d like to fix it.”
The apology did not satisfy Pocan, who responded on Twitter on Saturday saying:
“Sigh. It’s not about me, it’s about your workers, whom you don’t treat with enough respect or dignity.
“Start by acknowledging the inadequate working conditions you have created for ALL your workers, then correct it for everyone, and finally let them unionize without interference.”
Workers at Amazon’s huge processing plant in Bessemer, Alabama, completed a vote Monday on whether to unionize, an initiative strongly resisted by the company. The result has not yet been announced.
Amazon has successfully championed unionization efforts elsewhere in the U.S., even though most of its facilities in Europe are unionized.
The company insists that its workers enjoy good pay and benefits according to US standards.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)