Over-worked Amazon workers 'defecate in bags', AOC claims as she joins Dems calling tech giant to allow union

The e-commerce company has been at loggerheads with progressive leaders like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has now added fuel to fire


                            Over-worked Amazon workers 'defecate in bags', AOC claims as she joins Dems calling tech giant to allow union
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Amazon (Getty Images)
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New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has taken on e-commerce giant Amazon over its controversial treatment of the staff members. According to the socialist lawmaker, one of her relatives left the company amid extreme work pressure and that ‘defecating in bags’ is a common strategy to keep up the speed at work. AOC spoke out at a time when nearly 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, are deciding whether they want to set up a union, constituting the biggest labor push in the company’s history.

Amazon has found itself at odds with progressive politicians like Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with the Dems, and Elizabeth Warren, in recent times over their criticism of its labor and business policies. The clash reached new heights last week when the e-commerce giant went after both the veteran senators on Twitter in an unusual attack. Snarky posts were sent out against both the lawmakers and according to one report in Recode, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was unhappy that his company’s officials were not acting more aggressively while dealing with Amazon’s critics who he and others felt were hurling misleading charges. Earlier in March, Bezos refused to testify before the Senate Budget Committee, after Sanders invited him to speak at a hearing on wealth and income inequality.

Now, AOC’s joining the scene is likely to add more fuel to the fire. 

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Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos (Getty Images)

 

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Under-pressure workers defecating in bags

The NY lawmaker has joined Sanders and Wisconsin Representative Mark Pocan who are demanding the tech giant to allow its workers to form unions to push for better conditions. On Tuesday (March 30) night, AOC tweeted saying: “A loved one of mine worked Amazon delivery last year & left because that's how dangerous it felt to them working for a company that also puts so much performance pressure on their workers that defecating in bags is a common enough occurrence that there are internal memos about it.” Her tweet came in response to a tweet from top Amazon communications official Jay Carney who responded to a tweet from Sanders saying his firm treats its employees with dignity and respect. 

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Bernie Sanders (Getty Images)

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AOC’s allegation about bags containing faeces is not something that has been learnt for the first time. The practice of peeing in bottles in order to keep the workflow in Amazon warehouses is already known. Last week, Pocan also made a similar claim. On March 25, he tweeted: “Paying workers $15/hr doesn't make you a 'progressive workplace' when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles.”

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A former Amazon worker has also sued the company for not giving the employees a mandatory 30-minute meal recess. 

Amazon hit back at Pocan saying in a tweet: “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.”
 
But AOC is not the one to remain silent. She hit back at the e-commerce giant by posting a letter on the platform from an Amazon Logistics employee who documented the phenomenon of defecating inside Amazon bags. “This you?” the firebrand lawmaker asked in her tweet.

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Amazon and Walmart have together raked in more than $10 billion in profits over the course of the pandemic signaling a 56 percent rise in business, according to research group Brookings, thanks to more Americans opting for online shopping instead of physical ones in times of the health disaster. Brookings added that the two giants could have increased their workers’ compensation with that margin of profit and still could maintain their own gains.

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Amazon workers also contracted Covid-19

Amazon also faced flak last year after recording about 20,000 employees contracting the coronavirus after many of the workers came forward to reveal about the hazardous conditions found in facilities. In her tweet posted on Tuesday, AOC also brought the focus back on that aspect saying: “Amazon workers in my district organized to meet with me in private last year. They were terrified & sobbing at being left in the dark about COVID exposures on the job + finding out about worksite infections through the grapevine.”

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