Amazon got indignant when lawmaker Mark Pocan called them out for making employees pee in empty water bottles, then on Friday, they walked it back and issued an apology. Angry workers confirmed the congressman was right. Company executives still aren’t accepting blame though, it’s a far-reaching problem that affects other companies too.
Amazon admits it does happen
On Friday, Amazon public relations apologized for a tweet “directed at Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan last month, in which the company denied its employees work so hard they must urinate in empty water bottles.”
The megalithic company blogged that “some delivery drivers might have had to urinate in bottles.” They promise to improve working conditions.
Pocan started the pissing contest on March 24 when he took offense at something an Amazon exec posted about how progressive the company’s workplace is. “Paying workers $15/hr doesn’t make you a ‘progressive workplace’ when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles,” Pocan tapped out.
The suits were quick to reply, “you don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us.” That’s when their twitter feed started exploding. That was nothing to the comments flooding the employee feedback channel.
By Friday, they knew it was time to admit defeat and issue a formal apology. It seems that Amazon execs are so proud of their liberal “fulfillment centers” that they fail to fulfill the needs of their drivers.
As usual, the peons are forgotten and neglected. You can bet Jeff Bezos isn’t peeing in a bottle. “This was an own-goal, we’re unhappy about it, and we owe an apology to Representative Pocan,” they admitted.
The corporate game room
Amazon went on to explain that when they called the lawmaker’s tweet “incorrect,” to put it mildly, they were “wrongly focusing on fulfillment centers, which have dozens of restrooms.”
They also admitted that lower level PR department employees are in charge of the twitter feed because management is off playing pinball in the corporate game room. They admit, “the tweet did not receive proper scrutiny.”
“We need to hold ourselves to an extremely high accuracy bar at all times,” Amazon alleges, “and that is especially so when we are criticizing the comments of others.”
The corporate spokesunits also acknowledged that delivery drivers “can and do have trouble finding restrooms because of traffic or sometimes rural routes.” Of course, they blame it all on the Kung Flu. “COVID-19 has made the issue worse since many public restrooms are closed.”
Everybody does it, Amazon cries in self-defense. Urinating in bottles “is an industry-wide problem.” They provide lots of links “to news articles about drivers for other delivery companies who have had to do so.” That makes it okay then. “Regardless of the fact that this is industry-wide, we would like to solve it,” the company hedges. “We don’t yet know how, but will look for solutions.”
All Pocan could do is sigh. “Sigh. This is not about me, this is about your workers – who you don’t treat with enough respect or dignity. Start by acknowledging the inadequate working conditions you’ve created for ALL your workers, then fix that for everyone & finally, let them unionize without interference.”