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Pocan, Amazon battle over workers using bottles as bathrooms claim

“You don’t really believe that peeing in bottles thing do you?”
Congressman Mark Pocan
Congressman Mark Pocan(WIFR)
Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 9:15 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The world’s largest online retailer derisively dismissed a Wisconsin congressman on Twitter Wednesday night after he revisited one of the most sensationalistic allegations against the company by workplace advocates.

The tweet from the Amazon News account came as a response to Rep. Mark Pocan’s criticism of Amazon Worldwide Consumer Chief Dave Clark’s assertation that the company offers a “progressive workplace.” Clark’s comment came in a three-tweet thread about Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) heading to Alabama in which Clark defended Amazon’s wages and benefits.

Pocan retweeted Clark along with the statement, “Paying workers $15/hr doesn’t make you a “progressive workplace” when you union-bust and make workers urinate in bottles.”

A short time later, the Amazon account dedicated to news about the company, joined the exchange, asking the Democratic congressman, who represents Madison, Dane Co., and a large swatch of south-central Wisconsin, “You don’t really believe that peeing in bottles thing do you? If that were true, nobody would work for use.”

The account went on to compliment the company’s workforce and tout the benefits it offers, leaving one last rejoinder for Pocan, “We hope you can enact policies that get other employers to offer what we already do.”

Pocan’s accusation appears to trace back to claims made in a book by journalist James Bloodworth. The technology website, The Verge, reported Bloodworth, who posed as an Amazon worker for six months, wrote that employees at delivery warehouses in Staffordshire, England, do not have time to make it to a bathroom during their shifts and will instead use bottles.

The company denied those allegations as well as similar ones regarding the demands and pressures placed on warehouse workers, telling the Verge’s Shannon Liao, in part, “Amazon provides a safe and positive workplace for thousands of people across the UK with competitive pay and benefits from day one.”

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