After weeks of denial, Amazon has finally apologized to U.S. Representative Mark Pocan. It has admitted that it scored an “own goal” with its initial denial about “peeing in bottle.” Pocan had mentioned it and Amazon had denied it. The e-commerce giant has now said that its drivers have been forced urinated in bottles, sometimes, when they were on delivery rounds.
The company said in a blog post that it knows that drivers were sometimes unable to find restrooms due to heavy traffic or on rural routes. The situation exacerbated during the Covid pandemic as many restrooms that used to remain open, were shut.
This acknowledgement has come about seven days after Democrat Pocan had condemned the working conditions at Amazon. He had said in a tweet that paying working $15/hr. did not make them a “progressive workplace” as they were involved in breaking fledging union formation and making workers “urinate in bottles.”
Amazon had immediately filed a rebuttal tweeting that “peeing in bottles thing” was unbelievable and if it were true nobody would work for them.
It couldn’t walk the talk and apologized, though the company justified the comments saying that the earlier reply referred to staff at its warehouses and fulfilment centers.
In a blog post, Amazon said that it was their own goal and they were unhappy about it and that they owed “an apology to Representative Pocan.”
The company also mentioned that this issue is present across industries and they would look for solutions. There is no clarity as yet about when they would look for solutions and what would be the solutions.
Amazon workers have recently voted for or against a union at the Alabama facility. This is a moment that is awaited by many as it might force the company to take a relook at its policies.
Amazon has broken attempts at unionization in the past. This time around as well there were reports of intimidation. Unsafe working conditions, long hours and basic facilities are factors that affect these essential workers at Amazon. The result is eagerly awaited as this could be a turning point in the history of the labor movement in the U.S.
The final question which is raising concerns about health issues. If drivers are urinating in bottles are they washing their hands when delivering packages?