Amazon has apologised to a US congressman after mocking claims that its staff generally resorted to urinating in plastic bottles, saying its response had been an “own-goal” and “incorrect”.
In a tweet posted last month, Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, criticised Amazon for its union-busting efforts and report on working circumstances, drawing specific consideration to workers who didn’t have time to search out and use a rest room.
In response, Amazon tweeted: “You don’t actually consider the peeing in bottles factor, do you? If that have been true, no one would work for us.”
It sparked a flurry of damaging response, and several other articles refuting Amazon’s place.
Most notably, The Intercept published a story detailing inner correspondence from Amazon managers involved about employees urinating, and in some circumstances defecating, whereas out on supply.
In a blog post Amazon mentioned its response “didn’t ponder our giant driver inhabitants and as a substitute wrongly centered solely on our fulfilment facilities”, indicating it believed the problem was confined to its community of supply drivers.
“This was an own-goal,” Amazon wrote. “We’re sad about it, and we owe an apology to Consultant Pocan.”
It mentioned the tweet didn’t obtain “correct scrutiny” internally, however maintained that drivers’ rest room points have been as a consequence of “visitors or generally rural routes”, a problem it mentioned had grown as a consequence of Covid-19-related closures of public restrooms.
Amazon then went on to listing various tweets and information articles referencing the identical situation involving corporations reminiscent of Uber and UPS. Uber declined to remark. A UPS spokesperson couldn’t be reached.
Amazon added: “No matter the truth that that is industry-wide, we want to remedy it. We don’t but understand how, however will search for options.”
The apology comes as nearly 6,000 Amazon employees at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, await the results of a vote on unionisation. Counting is anticipated to start early subsequent week. If the union succeeds, it is going to be the primary time Amazon employees within the nation have achieved collective bargaining energy.
Supporters see the union drive, which has drawn appreciable political backing, as a possible start line for motion throughout the ecommerce large’s US-based workforce, which has grown quickly in the course of the pandemic and now numbers greater than 950,000.
That determine doesn’t embody its supply drivers, who’re employed by means of third-party contractors. This weekend, various drivers have pledged to stroll off the job in protest at what they see as unacceptable workloads as Amazon continues to cope with heightened pandemic demand.
“197 stops, that is ridiculous,” mentioned one driver in a video posted to Reddit on Friday. “It’s not real looking to get this performed in an affordable period of time. How is that this secure?”
He added: “This must cease, we have to unionise. And by the best way, sure all of us pee in bottles — we’ve got to.”
Pocan on Saturday responded to Amazon’s apology with one other tweet: “This isn’t about me, that is about your employees — who you do not deal with with sufficient respect or dignity. Begin by acknowledging the insufficient working circumstances you have created for ALL your employees, then repair that for everybody & lastly, allow them to unionise with out interference.”