Amazon Aware That Workers Allegedly Pee in Water Bottles
After initially denying reports that Amazon workers pee in water bottles, the e-commerce giant admitted that it was wrong. The admission came after documents surfaced, showing that Amazon has been aware of the problem for quite some time.
The issue arose after Amazon executive Dave Clark mocked Senator Bernie Sander’s support of the unionization drive by Amazon workers in Alabama. In response, Representative Mark Pocan (D-Wis) tweeted: “Paying workers $15/hr doesn’t make you a ‘progressive workplace’ when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles.”
His response was based on 2018 reports that Amazon workers had to skip bathroom breaks to meet quotas. Inadequate breaks forced them to urinate in bottles and even defecate in bags.
What Has the Investigation Shown?
According to documents provided by The Intercept, the problem has become so widespread that it was often discussed during meetings and in formal policy documents and emails. Furthermore, not only was it known to management, but it was a “recurring infraction.”
One such document marked “confidential” was sent to The Intercept by an anonymous source within Amazon. It listed numerous infractions by Amazon employees, which included “public urination” and even “public defecation.”
The source also provided an email from an Amazon logistics area manager reprimanding a driver’s third infraction for defecating into bags in two months. The manager acknowledged that driver associates sometimes have emergencies on the road and may have trouble finding a bathroom, especially during COVID times. The email also stated that the company had recently noticed an increase in other unsanitary practices, including leaving used masks, gloves, and bottles of urine in bags.
A former Amazon delivery driver told the news outlet that drivers are forced into committing these infractions because “we will end up losing our jobs for too many ‘undelivered packages’” if they don’t. Another worker said that even though they receive 30 minutes of paid breaks, they cannot complete their job on time if they take these breaks.
Another email threatened “immediate offboarding” if the company found urine bottles in delivery vans.
Several other reporters have investigated complaints of poor working conditions at Amazon. They have shared tweets of employees complaining of not having enough time to use the bathroom and being forced to pee in water bottles.
The retail behemoth has been criticized recently after employees worldwide have complained of poor working conditions.
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