Amazon Issues Apology for Tweet Denying Revelations of Drivers Urinating in Bottles

The apology came amid a wave of public criticism of Amazon’s work practices and anti-union efforts last week. Approximately 5,800 Amazon warehouse employees in Bessemer, Alabama, are awaiting the outcome of a union election to press for better working conditions, scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Democrat Representative Mark Pocan of Wisconsin received an apology from Amazon on Friday after the company mocked his accusation that the company’s drivers are often forced to urinate in bottles during delivery rounds due to the demands of the job and delivery time constraints.

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

The tech-giant, however, emphasized in the statement that the problem it had just admitted to “is a long-standing, industry-wide issue and is not specific to Amazon.”

“We apologize to Representative Pocan,” the company specifically referred to the lawmaker in its statement.

In addition, the company attached several tweets from users supporting Amazon to a blog post.

​Pocan is one of the lawmakers who support the landmark unionization effort, criticized by Amazon, which has previously been in denial regarding the issue with the basic human urge while on the road.

“Paying workers $15/hr doesn’t make you a ‘progressive workplace’ when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles,” Pocan wrote in the tweet that sparked the discussion on March 24.

Amazon was quick to respond, noting that if such accusations were true, “no one would work for us.”

​”We hope you can enact policies that get other employers to offer what we already do,” the company fired back at Pocan.

That conversation prompted a torrent of criticisms, as well as a report describing how Amazon executives often raised concerns about staff urinating while on delivery during meetings, policy papers, and emails.

​Amazon also called its tweet an “own-goal” because it overlooked the company’s large driver population in favor of concentrating on its fulfillment centers. The tweet also didn’t “receive proper scrutiny” and was wrong, according to the company.

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