Amazon on Friday issued an apology for a tweet last week denying claims from some Amazon workers that they were worked so hard that they were forced to urinate in plastic bottles instead of going to the restroom.
The tweet from the Amazon News account came in response to a post from Rep. Mark PocanMark William PocanBiden seeks to build Democratic support among unions Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — A warning shot on Biden's .5T plan Overnight Defense & National Security — America's longest war ends MORE (D-Wis.), who commented on claims of a “progressive workplace” from Amazon consumer chief Dave Clark.
“Paying workers $15/hr doesn't make you a 'progressive workplace' when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles,” Pocan tweeted.
Amazon pushed back in its own tweet, writing, “You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you?”
“If that were true, nobody would work for us,” the account added at the time. “The truth is that we have over a million incredible employees around the world who are proud of what they do, and have great wages and health care from day one.”
1/2 You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us. The truth is that we have over a million incredible employees around the world who are proud of what they do, and have great wages and health care from day one.— Amazon News (@amazonnews) March 25, 2021
Amazon apologized on Friday for its response, writing in a blog post, “This was an own-goal, we’re unhappy about it, and we owe an apology to Representative Pocan.”
“First, the tweet was incorrect,” Amazon said. “It did not contemplate our large driver population and instead wrongly focused only on our fulfillment centers.” The company noted that these locations usually have “dozens of restrooms, and employees are able to step away from their work station at any time.”
“If any employee in a fulfillment center has a different experience, we encourage them to speak to their manager and we'll work to fix it,” the multinational tech giant added.
Amazon also said that the tweet “did not receive proper scrutiny,” recognizing the “need to hold ourselves to an extremely high accuracy bar at all times, and that is especially so when we are criticizing the comments of others.”
The corporation admitted that Amazon drivers especially may “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.”
“This is a long-standing, industry-wide issue and is not specific to Amazon,” the post added before including a series of links for additional news reports on drivers for ride-hailing services and workers for delivery companies struggling to find accessible bathrooms while working.
Amazon went on to say, “Regardless of the fact that this is industry-wide, we would like to solve it. We don’t yet know how, but will look for solutions.”
Several Twitter users had criticized Amazon for its response last week, including Pocan himself, who tweeted, “And yes, I do believe your workers. You don't?"
Since 2018, some Amazon workers have come forward with claims that they were forced to urinate in bottles as well as other allegations of worker mistreatment, including that pregnant employees were required to stand for hours on their shifts and were repeatedly targeted for termination.