Amazon Issues Half-Apology for Its Misguided “Peeing in Bottles” Tweet

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It’s not really a sorry, but it’s a rare sign of self-awareness from the tech giant.

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Amazon has backpedaled on its misguided attempt to deny that some of its workers must urinate into bottles in order to meet their work targets. In a time when Amazon is openly arguing with politicians on Twitter to defend its reputation, it’s a rare admission of guilt. Sort of.

Amazon Says Sorry While Pointing the Finger

To understand the context of the Amazon statement, it’s important to know the backstory. The initial spark to the latest debacle was a Tweet by Rep. Mark Pocan criticizing Amazon CEO Dave Clark’s assumption that it provides fair working conditions:

Amazon seemingly didn’t like this and crafted a human-sounding response trying to brush off the accusations and re-affirm how great an employer Amazon is.

This annoyed absolutely everyone, including Representative Pocan, who firmly stated he “believed the workers” over the official Amazon statement. The majority of Twitter replies seemed to confirm that Amazon was brushing off a real issue, with both delivery drivers and fulfillment center workers confirming that Amazon didn’t give enough leeway for bathroom breaks.

Amazon didn’t apologize exactly, but they did backpedal in a roundabout way, denying some things and pointing the finger outwards to other companies and the industry at large. You can read the full statement issued on the Amazon blog below:

On Wednesday last week, the @amazonnews Twitter account tweeted the following back to Representative Mark Pocan: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, 2021This was an own-goal, we’re unhappy about it, and we owe an apology to Representative Pocan.First, the tweet was incorrect. It did not contemplate our large driver population and instead wrongly focused only on our fulfillment centers. A typical Amazon fulfillment center has 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.Second, our process was flawed. The tweet did not receive proper scrutiny. We 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.Third, we know that drivers can and do 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. We’ve included just a few links below that discuss the issue.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.We will continue to speak out when misrepresented, but we will also work hard to always be accurate.We apologize to Representative Pocan.

So far, no Amazon workers have confirmed if the apology to Rep. Pocan, who is not an employee of Amazon, has helped with the ongoing issue.

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