Amazon has apologized for a tweet it sent to a U.S. politician more than a week ago that denies the company’s employees work so hard they urinate into empty water bottles.
It also admitted that some delivery drivers may have had to urinate in bottles and promised to improve their working conditions.
The matter was first raised on March 24th by a Wisconsin representative, Mark Pocan, who responded to a tweet from an Amazon manager that the company was a progressive place to work.
“If you pay workers $ 15 an hour, you will not become a ‘progressive workplace’ if you break down unionists and urinate workers in water bottles,” Pocan said in his tweet.
Amazon replied, “You don’t really believe how to pee in bottles, do you? If that were true, no one would work for us.”
In a blog post on Friday evening, Amazon apologized to Mr Pocan and admitted that delivery drivers “may have problems finding toilets due to traffic or sometimes rural routes”.
The online shopping giant said Covid-19 made the problem worse as many public toilets are closed.
“Sigh,” replied Mr Pocan in a tweet on Saturday morning.
“This is not about me, this is about your employees – whom you do not treat with enough respect or dignity.”
Amazon wrote in its blog post that bottle urination is an industry-wide problem. To prove this, links to news articles about drivers were shared with other delivery companies who had to do this.
“Regardless of the fact that this is industry wide, we want to solve it,” the company said.
“We don’t know how yet, but we will look for solutions.”
Amazon’s treatment of workers has been a hot topic lately as it faces the largest union surge in its history at an Alabama warehouse.
The organizers are pushing for more break time and better pay. Many complain about the breakthrough 10-hour workdays that only include two 30-minute breaks.
Seattle-based Amazon didn’t respond to a request for comment.