To paraphrase one of the the most iconic tweets Over the past 10 years, Amazon’s recent denial that employees aren’t forced to urinate in bottles at work has left people asking a lot of questions that the denial has already answered.
In a tweet sent last night, the official Amazon News account of the giant company, whose CEO Jeff Bezos saw his personal net worth increase by $ 70 billion during the pandemic, wrote: “You don’t really believe in the pee stuff in the bottles, do you? If it was true, no one would work for us. The truth is, we have over a million amazing employees around the world who take pride in what they do, and get great pay and healthcare from day one.
In less than 12 hours, the tweet was cited 9,000 times. (For those unfamiliar with the metric arts of Twitter, that’s no good.)
The thousands of happy and mocking replies to Amazon’s post came with good reason. The company is currently in the midst of a public relations battle with a group of workers in Alabama trying to organize. In an attempt to prevent such a landmark move, Amazon has launched a campaign to illustrate how much, in fact, they treat their workers. It doesn’t seem to work! Many high-level union organizers, celebrities and politicians like Bernie Sanders joined the strikers. The Vermont senator is due to travel to Alabama on Friday to meet with them.
The botched PR response in question in this case came as a response to a tweet from another lawmaker, Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan, who himself was responding to blows thrown by another Amazon executive, Dave Clark. Clark had tried to make a sneaky analogy between his business and Sanders’ success in his home state, saying, “I often say we’re the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not quite right because that we offer a progressive workplace. »
So far not at all convincing – as was quickly noted. “It was I who found the pee in the bottle. Believe me, it happened, ”tweeted author James Bloodworth, who worked undercover at Amazon for his book Hired: Six Month Undercover in Low-Wage Britain.
Some have likened the tweet to a form of corporate gaslighting akin to an abusive relationship – while others laughed at the pity for the person who sent it. “Sending thoughts and prayers to the Amazon News account manager being forced to swallow Jeff Bezos’ whole boot with every tweet,” one person said.
While the $ 15 an hour Amazon paid in the US is better than some other companies, workers have long talked about brutal conditions, dangerous and hectic work, and, in fact, having to urinate in bottles. for fear of being seen. like wasting too much time on the clock.
“We announced this news,” tweeted Business Insider editor-in-chief Nicholas Carlson – pointing out that Amazon’s excuse that these were contractors (rather than employees) being forced to pee in bottles, made the story even worse than it looked.
But why believe them – or the many outlets that have reported this story? – others joked, after all, who wouldn’t trust Amazon’s labor practice news to be unbiased when written by… Amazon News?
Some have pointed to the irony of the tweet falling so close to the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire.
Perhaps all is not lost here for Amazon, however. There may be an advantage when the crash has died down.
Bezos’ mansion in Washington DC would have 25 bathrooms for its own use.