Amazon is facing major backlash after it disputed claims that warehouse employees were made to urinate in bottles to avoid wasting time and meet quotas, despite several sources documenting the practice.
After Democratic Representative Mark Pocan called the retail giant out for union busting and making workers “urinate in water bottles” in a Twitter post on Wednesday, the company decided to fire back.
“You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you?” asked one of Amazon’s official Twitter accounts, adding: “If that were true, nobody would work for us.”
“The truth is that we have over a million incredible employees around the world who are proud of what they do, and have great wages and health care from day one,” the company claimed.
1/2 You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us. The truth is that we have over a million incredible employees around the world who are proud of what they do, and have great wages and health care from day one.
— Amazon News (@amazonnews) March 25, 2021
It might have been easier to stay quiet, however. Amazon’s defensive comment did not go down well, with social media users pointing out that several sources have documented employees urinating in bottles to avoid being disciplined.
And yes, I do believe your workers.You don’t?
— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) March 25, 2021
“When I worked at Amazon the higher ups would come in the bathrooms to yell at people to hurry up and pressure people to use the bathroom as little as possible,” claimed one user, while others also said they were “reprimanded” for using the bathroom just once or twice in a shift.
Yes we believe the “peeing in bottles thing,” many realize the abuse of power that Amazon represents, I’m glad both Bernie & the Attorney General of NY are onto you, and I hope Biden’s new anti-trust appointee is successful at removing you from your monopolistic perch.
— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) March 25, 2021
Jacobin magazine publisher Bhaskar Sunkara also rebutted Amazon’s claim that nobody would work for the company if the urination reports were true, joking: “Right, because throughout history no one has ever put up with exploitation to put food on the table.”
Journalist James Bloodworth reported in his 2018 book, ‘Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain’, that some Amazon warehouse employees were relieving themselves in bottles to avoid going to the bathroom, since it was located far away from their station and they would be sanctioned for the time lost.
Other employees have reported taking Amazon orders into the bathroom with them to scan on the toilet.
A 2017-2018 survey by Organise also revealed that 74% of Amazon warehouse workers “avoid going to the toilet at work,” with over 60% claiming they were “scared” of missing their targets and over 20% claiming they were scared of being fired for taking a bathroom break.
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