a picture of an amazon warehouse with a png of a water bottle overlaid atop

Amazon Warehouse Workers Urinating in Bottles

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Updated Mar 25, 2021 at 02:54PM EDT by Matt.

Added Mar 25, 2021 at 02:28PM EDT by Matt.

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Overview

Amazon Warehouse Workers Urinating Bottles is a frequently reported criticism of the working conditions of Amazon factory warehouses. Many Amazon employees have reported penalities for taking bathroom breaks, leading to their relieving themselves on the factory floor in waterbottles. In 2021, an Amazon-associated Twitter account refuted the charges, saying, "You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us." However, many believe the charge to be a reality and use it to call for better working conditions.

Background

On December 11th, 2017, the British tabloid newspaper the Mirror[1] reported that Amazon drivers were "being asked to deliver up to 200 parcels a day for Amazon while earning less than the minimum wage." The report continued to state that they had "so little time for food or toilet stops they snatch hurried meals on the run and urinate into plastic bottles they keep in their vans."

Months later, on April 15th, 2018, The Sun[2] reported that Amazon warehouse employees were skipping bathroom breaks to reach targets and were urinating in bottles to avoid trips. They wrote, "AMAZON warehouse staff are peeing in bottles because loos are hundreds of yards away. One ex-worker said staff fear getting into trouble for taking too long away from the job."

"People just peed in bottles because they lived in fear of being ­disciplined over ‘idle time’ and ­losing their jobs just because they needed the loo," said James Bloodworth, an undercover investigator.

Developments

Online Reaction

On April 16th, 2018, Redditor OhMyGloob posted about the scandal in the /r/technology[6] subreddit. The post received more than 45,000 points (87% upvoted) and 3,500 comments in less than three years.

Amazon Tweet

On March 24th, 2021, Representative Mark Pocan (D-Wi) tweeted,[3] "Paying workers $15/hr doesn't make you a 'progressive workplace' when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles." The tweet received more than 27,000 likes and 2,100 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below, left).

The verified Twitter[4] user @amazonnews responded, "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." The tweet received more than 13,000 retweets and 2,400 likes (shown below, right).


Rep. Mark Pocan @repmarkpocan •.. Paying workers $15/hr doesn't make you a "progressive workplace" when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles. Dave Clark @davehclark · 19h 1/3 I welcome @SenSanders to Birmingham and appreciate his push for a progressive workplace. I often say we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that's not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace businessinsider.com/bernie-sanders... Show this thread 6:05 PM · Mar 24, 2021 · Twitter for Android Amazon News •.. @amazonnews Replying to @repmarkpocan 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. 7:29 PM · Mar 24, 2021 · Twitter Web App


Many reacted negatively to the tweet. The Twitter[5] account for the Gravel Institute tweeted a picture of two water bottles, presumably filled with urine, and the caption, "You mean these pee bottles?" The tweet received more than 6,100 likes and 600 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).


Gravel Institute •.. @Gravellnstitute You mean these pee bottles? POW ADE NOIX SPORTS DR zero sugar XXX Stee Amazon News @amazonnews · 16h Replying to @repmarkpocan 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. 9:11 AM · Mar 25, 2021 · Twitter Web App vitaminwater.

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