The Intercept: Internal Amazon Documents Show Company Knows Employees Are Forced to Pee in Bottles

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos during the JFK Space Summit at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

A recent report from the Intercept reveals that internal documents show that Amazon is aware that many of its workers have been forced to urinate in bottles despite recent public denials by the company that such events ever took place.

Breitbart News reported yesterday that e-commerce giant Amazon has begun a new tactic in its PR battle against stories of its extreme workplace conditions, now just outright denying many previously documented issues.

In a reply to a tweet from Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) who complained about the firm’s union-busting tactics and that some of its workers were forced to “urinate in water bottles,” Amazon’s Twitter account responded: “You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us.”

Many were quick to point out that the situation has been well documented in the past:

Now, the Intercept reports that internal documents show that Amazon executives are well aware of the issue and have acknowledged it internally.

The Intercept writes:

One document from January, marked “Amazon Confidential,” details various infractions by Amazon employees, including “public urination” and “public defecation.” The document was provided to The Intercept by an Amazon employee in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who, like most of the employees I talked to, was granted anonymity to avoid professional reprisal

The employee also provided an email sent by an Amazon logistics area manager last May that chastised employees for defecating into bags. “This evening, an associate discovered human feces in an Amazon bag that was returned to station by a driver. This is the 3rd occasion in the last 2 months when bags have been returned to station with poop inside. We understand that DA’s [driver associates] may have emergencies while on-road, and especially during Covid, DAs have struggled to find bathrooms while delivering.”

“We’ve noticed an uptick recently of all kinds of unsanitary garbage being left inside bags: used masks, gloves, bottles of urine,” the email continues. “By scanning the QR code on the bag, we can easily identify the DA who was in possession of the bag last. These behaviors are unacceptable, and will result in Tier 1 Infractions going forward. Please communicate this message to your drivers. I know if may seem obvious, or like something you shouldn’t need to coach, but please be explicit when communicating the message that they CANNOT poop, or leave bottles of urine inside bags.”

One former Amazon delivery driver, Halie Marie Brown, told The Intercept that the practice “happens because we are literally implicitly forced to do so, otherwise we will end up losing our jobs for too many ‘undelivered packages.’”

An email that Brown previously received from her former manager in August stated: “In the morning, you must check your van thoroughly for garbage and urine bottle. If you find urine bottle (s) please report to your lead, supporting staff or me. Vans will be inspected by Amazon during debrief, if urine bottle (s) are found, you will be issue an infraction tier 1 for immediate offboarding.”

Amazon does prohibit the practice and refers to it as a “Tier 1″ infraction, which employees have stated can lead to termination but delivery drivers state that this is disingenuous as they are unable to meet their quotes otherwise. One Amazon delivery employee based in Massachusetts stated: “They give us 30 minutes of paid breaks, but you will not finish your work if you take it, no matter how fast you are.”

When asked if managed had been more lenient on quotas after discovering that employees were being forced to urinate and defecate in their delivery vans, Brown responded: “Not at all. In fact, over the course of my time there, our package and stop counts actually increased substantially.”

Read more at the Intercept here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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