Amazon has apologised to a US politician after denying that drivers sometimes urinate in plastic bottles while working.
The company backed down over its response to a tweet posted by Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Wisconsin, which slated Amazon for opposing workers efforts to unionise and claimed that the company makes “workers urinate in water bottles.”
The company replied: “You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us.”
But in a press statement, Amazon has now acknowledged that the tweet was “incorrect” and has apologised to Pocan after evidence emerged of drivers having to urinate in bottles.. It said:
“This was an own-goal, we’re unhappy about it, and we owe an apology to Representative Pocan.
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“The tweet was incorrect. It did not contemplate our large driver population and instead wrongly focused only on our fulfilment centres.”
It comes amid widespread media reports criticising the working conditions of Amazon staff. Employees have spoken out about being so busy they are forced to urinate in bottles and have said they fear they will be punished if they take breaks.
Meanwhile, Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, voted in a poll last week to decide whether to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, against Amazon’s wishes. If they vote yes, it will become Amazon’s first US union.
Amazon added: “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.”
It said the problem was “a long-standing, industry-wide issue” and said that they “would like to solve it”.
But responding to the apology, Pocan slammed Amazon and said the company does not treat its staff with “respect or dignity”.
What Amazon has to say to that claim remains to be seen.