Amazon has long been criticised for its treatment of warehouse staff
Amazon has long faced scrutiny over its treatment of workers and whether they are forced to take drastic measures to cope with burgeoning workloads.
But one allegation has left a particularly unpleasant taste in the multinational’s mouth.
The online retail giant has been plagued by the accusation that some of its warehouse workers are so overstretched that they are forced to urinate in bottles rather than take toilet breaks.
But today it dismissed the claim during a fiery Twitter exchange.
Democratic lawmaker Mark Pocan had tweeted a message about the company, saying: "Paying workers $15/hr doesn’t make you a ‘progressive workplace’ when you union-bust and make workers urinate in water bottles."
The “peeing in bottles thing” comes from a claim made by British author James Bloodworth, who went undercover at an Amazon warehouse in 2018.
He reported that workers were admonished for taking toilet breaks and that he had stumbled across a bottle of urine on a warehouse shelf.
Meanwhile, drivers of Amazon-affiliated courier companies have admitted to urinating in bottles to save time on the road.
Amazon’s fierce rebuttal of the accusation has garnered more than 6,000 comments in the 10 hours since it was posted.
Political commentator Brian Tyler Cohen responded with a survey asking fellow Twitter users: “Do you really believe the peeing in bottles thing?”
More than 100,000 people have responded so far, with the overwhelming majority of participants (84 per cent) answering: yes.
Another user commented: “Yes 100%. Used to drive for Amazon and can confirm this happens every single day. You literally plan for it before the shift even starts.”
Another wrote: “As a former employee I do believe it. I worked in delivering station and have found a lot pee bottles in the delivery bags. Yuck!!!!
“They also do not let their employees take a break until it is like 30 minutes before your shift is over.”
And another said: “A friend of mine worked at an Amazon warehouse in Texas for about a month. She said the bathrooms were few and far between, you only had a few minutes per shift to get there, do your business and get back to work, and any time longer than that got deducted from your paycheck.”
@briantylercohen @amazonnews @repmarkpocan A friend of mine worked at an Amazon warehouse in Texas for about a mont… https://t.co/iMikV2qV9k
— John Z is fully vaccinated. (@John Z is fully vaccinated.)
Others sprung to Amazon’s defence, with one writing: “It’s really dumb that so many think that is true. So much cynicism it’s sad.”
Another wrote: “I worked there before and if I had to pee, someone just took my spot and I went to the actual bathroom.”
And another said: “I know someone who has worked at Amazon for years in different centers and has never peed in a bottle on a shift.
“However in any large org it is possible some sites are managed poorly causing such problems.”
@briantylercohen @DeirdreMDay @amazonnews @repmarkpocan I know someone who has worked at Amazon for years in differ… https://t.co/XWpFBapwHV
Elsewhere, Bernie Sanders has been unambiguous in his criticism of Amazon’s anti-union drive.
He tweeted on Thursday: “I look forward to meeting with Amazon workers in Alabama on Friday.
“All I want to know is why the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, is spending millions trying to prevent workers from organizing a union so they can negotiate for better wages, benefits and working conditions.”
I look forward to meeting with Amazon workers in Alabama on Friday. All I want to know is why the richest man in th… https://t.co/SMlxu6ALjb