Amazon created a stir on Thursday when it refuted claims that its distribution staff was having to urinate in bottles due to a lack of bathroom access, but a leaked internal memo reveals the company was aware of the situation for at least several months.
According to documents sent to the Intercept by Amazon staff, an email sent in May 2020 warned employees against urinating in bottles and defecating in bags while on the job.
The email went on to say: “This evening, an associate discovered human feces in an Amazon bag that was returned to station by a driver,” the email reads. “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. Regardless, DAs cannot, MUST NOT, return bags to station with poop inside.”
The news came after Amazon sent a combative tweet to a Wisconsin congressman who had chastised the corporation over workplace conditions. The drama erupted in the midst of a standoff with Alabama employees who were attempting to form a union.
Workers previously told the Forsige that they had to urinate regularly inside water bottles to avoid missed distribution deadlines. Hundreds of comments from Amazon drivers say they frequently have to urinate in water bottles due to a lack of bathroom breaks while on the road, especially when the Covid-19 pandemic expanded the number of deliveries.
The bathroom uproar, which surfaced on Thursday, is just the latest example of the backlash that has erupted over Amazon’s treatment of its workers, including its delivery drivers.
According to Vice, drivers are being asked to sign “biometric approval” forms in order to continue working with the retailing behemoth. These types will enable AI-powered cameras to monitor drivers on the job, which number about 75,000 in the United States.