Documents Show Amazon Is Aware That Their Delivery Drivers Pee In Bottles

If employees actually had to pee in bottles, Amazon said, “nobody would work for us.” That’s a lie.

In anticipation of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s scheduled trip to Bessemer, Alabama, to support the unionization drive by Amazon workers there, Amazon executive Dave Clark cast the $1 trillion behemoth as “the Bernie Sanders of employers” and taunted: “So if you want to hear about $15 an hour and health care, Senator Sanders will be speaking downtown. But if you would like to make at least $15 an hour and have good health care, Amazon is hiring.”

Rep. Mark Pocan replied via tweet: “Paying workers $15/hr doesn’t make you a progressive workplace when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles,” echoing reports from 2018 that Amazon workers were forced to skip bathroom breaks and pee in bottles. Amazon’s denial was swift: “You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us.”

But Amazon workers with whom I spoke said that the practice was so widespread due to pressure to meet quotas that managers frequently referenced it during meetings and in formal policy documents and emails, which were provided to The Intercept. The practice, these documents show, was known to management, which identified it as a recurring infraction but did nothing to ease the pressure that caused it. In some cases, employees even defecated in bags.

Amazon did not provide a statement to The Intercept before publication.

One document from January, marked “Amazon Confidential,” details various infractions by Amazon employees, including “public urination” and “public defecation.” The document was provided to The Intercept by an Amazon employee in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who, like most of the employees I talked to, was granted anonymity to avoid professional reprisal.

The employee also provided an email sent by an Amazon logistics area manager last May that chastised employees for defecating into bags. “This evening, an associate discovered human feces in an Amazon bag that was returned to station by a driver. 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.”

“We’ve noticed an uptick recently of all kinds of unsanitary garbage being left inside bags: used masks, gloves, bottles of urine,” the email continues. “By scanning the QR code on the bag, we can easily identify the DA who was in possession of the bag last. These behaviors are unacceptable, and will result in Tier 1 Infractions going forward. Please communicate this message to your drivers. I know if may seem obvious, or like something you shouldn’t need to coach, but please be explicit when communicating the message that they CANNOT poop, or leave bottles of urine inside bags.”

Halie Marie Brown, a 26-year-old resident of Manteca, California, who worked as a delivery driver for an Amazon delivery contractor, Soon Express, until quitting on March 12, told The Intercept that the practice “happens because we are literally implicitly forced to do so, otherwise we will end up losing our jobs for too many ‘undelivered packages.’”

An email that Brown received from her manager this past August has a section titled “Urine bottle” and states: “In the morning, you must check your van thoroughly for garbage and urine bottle. If you find urine bottle (s) please report to your lead, supporting staff or me. Vans will be inspected by Amazon during debrief, if urine bottle (s) are found, you will be issue an infraction tier 1 for immediate offboarding.”

While Amazon technically prohibits the practice — documents characterize it as a “Tier 1” infraction, which employees say can lead to termination — drivers said that this was disingenuous since they can’t meet their quotas otherwise. “They give us 30 minutes of paid breaks, but you will not finish your work if you take it, no matter how fast you are,” one Amazon delivery employee based in Massachusetts told me.

Asked if management eased up on the quotas in light of the practice, Brown said, “Not at all. In fact, over the course of my time there, our package and stop counts actually increased substantially.”

This has gotten even more intense, employees say, as Amazon has seen an enormous boom in package orders during the coronavirus pandemic. Amazon employees said their performance is monitored so closely by the firm’s vast employee surveillance arsenal that they are constantly in fear of falling short of their productivity quotas.

One email, provided to The Intercept by a Houston-based driver associate who works for an Amazon contractor, alludes to company cameras that can find workers who leave urine bottles behind in the vans. “Data from these cameras can be sent to Amazon in the event of any incident on the road. (We have had several bad accidents, a stolen van, drivers leaving piss bottles etc in the vans).”

The employee said, “Every single day of my shift, I have to use the restroom in a bottle to finish my route on time. This is so common that you’ll often find bottles from other drivers located under seats in the vans. … The fact that Amazon would tweet that is hilarious.”

Public reports that Amazon employees skipped bathroom breaks originated in a 2018 book by the British journalist James Bloodworth. That book, “Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain,” alleged that Amazon workers at a warehouse in Staffordshire, U.K., resorted to urinating in bottles in order to meet production quotas. While most of the employees I spoke to were drivers who delivered products, workers said the practice was commonplace in factories as well.

The vote by Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama on whether to unionize has become a flashpoint for organized labor. While Amazon has publicly criticized Sanders, he is far from the only prominent politician to voice support for the employees’ right to form a union. Last month, President Joe Biden released a video statement saying, “Every worker should have a free and fair choice to join a union,” which “should be made without intimidation or threats by employers.”

The election, which ends on March 29, would determine if the more than 5,000 warehouse workers will join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. None of Amazon’s 800,000 employees in the U.S. are currently unionized.

Source: The Intercept

Yumi Nu Becomes Sports Illustrated’s First Asian Curvy Model: ‘We Are Worthy’

Model Yumi Nu is making history.

Nu, who is Japanese and Dutch, took to social media to announce that she is the first curvy Asian model to pose for Sports Illustrated. Her spread is set to appear in the 2021 swimsuit issue.

“Secrets out!!! I’m a 2021 @si_swimsuit Rookie! What an incredible honor it is to be in such an inclusive and beautiful magazine that has pushed the envelope since day 1. I’m so proud to be making history as the first Asian curve Sports Illustrated model. Thank you to my team @jonilaninyc @pheeeeeeeebssss @thesocietynyc for being the most incredible agents and to the amazing team at @si_swimsuit @mj_day @jo.giunta @margotzamet for making this happen! An incredible day with our amazing crew who had me laughing all day, photo by legendary @yutsai88 and best hair and makeup by @djquintero and @rebeccaalexandermakeup,” she wrote.

In a second post, Nu shared a video from her shoot and thanked SI for allowing her to “tell my story.”

“I’ve grown very passionate in recent years in talking about the body shame that Asian women and women in general go through, because it was something that was very difficult for me growing up,” she said. “I don’t want anyone to go through life with the lie that they aren’t enough as they are. It stops us from living our fullest lives. WE ARE WORTHY!!! WE ARE DESERVING OF GOOD THINGS!!! LETS GO!!!”

Sports Illustrated posted a quote by the magazine’s editor MJ Day on their social media, with Day saying Nu “possesses the most amount of confidence and appreciation for herself and body that we’ve seen.”

“She doesn’t hold herself to any traditional beauty standards and is gracefully unapologetic for seeing herself as a powerful, beautiful, sensual woman,” Day said. “She shows up for women in a strong way and is on a mission to end the conversation around limiting women in the industry. Not only is she stunning, and an extraordinary model, but she radiates warmth and the kind of energy that we always want around. Yumi’s photos are some of my favorites and so is she!”

In a recent interview with People, Nu explained where her confidence comes from.

“I feel the most confident when I’m grounded in the belief that my worthiness can’t be earned — I have always been, always will be worthy. With that mindset, I can do anything I want!” she said.

She also admitted that she recently began to truly connect with her Japanese heritage in the wake of anti-Asian violence that has been increasing around the country in the midst of the global pandemic.

“The Asian community isn’t always a loud one,” she said. “Our society’s view of Asians in the model minority myth lens has silenced us for many years. In this time of anti-Asian violence, it’s so important now more than ever for Asian people to be heard and supported. The division and racism in our world has gotten so bad; we’ve grown so far from love and connection. I want to create a space for people to feel heard and safe. That’s my purpose on this earth.”

In recent years, Sports Illustrated has been praised for being more diverse and inclusive when it comes to choosing their models. In February 2015, Robyn Lawley became the first curvy model to pose for the magazine’s swimsuit edition. And it was announced on Wednesday that Leyna Bloom became the issue’s first trans model of color.

Source: Yahoo

How Some Collegiate Athletes Are Making It Clear They’re #NotNCAAProperty​

Rece Davis talks with Michigan Wolverines’ Isaiah Livers, Jordan Bohannon of the Iowa Hawkeyes and Geo Baker of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights about their college experiences and what they are hoping to accomplish from the #NotNCAAProperty​ movement.

0:00​ Livers, Bohannon and Baker describe what their college experiences have been like throughout their four years at their respective schools.
4:56​​ They describe the reaction on social media, especially with Livers wearing the shirt that says “Not NCAA Property.”
12:24​ Bohannon explains what they hope to accomplish in their upcoming meeting with NCAA president Mark Emmert.
17:00​ Livers says the Michigan coaches, including Juwan Howard, have been very supportive of what he is trying to achieve.
21:07​ Baker and Livers explain what the impact would be if college athletes are able to make money off their likeness.

Pepsi Mango To Become First Permanent Fixture In Five Years

Pepsi is bringing back its Pepsi Mango. The drink was previously a limited-time offering during spring, but it will now be available as a permanent fixture — the first time Pepsi made a permanent fixture in five years.

As its name suggests, the drink is a sweet concoction of mango fruit and Pepsi, mixing tropical flavors with crisp cola fizz. Customers will have the option of getting the beverage in 12-packs of 12-ounce cans or 20-ounce bottles. To kick off the drink, Pepsi will be launching a matchmaking social media series for singles. The campaign will host singles with bio descriptions and contact information to encourage introductions. Vice President of Marketing at Pepsi, Todd Kaplan, expressed excitement for the new flavor: “Mango is one of the most popular fruits in the world, and it serves as the perfect complement to Pepsi, creating an irresistible combination that our fans can enjoy everywhere throughout the year.”

Source: Hypebeast

Reflecting On L.A.’s Chinese Massacre After Atlanta Shootings

The Los Angeles of 1871 was a violent, lawless place.

Historians have described it as one of the last cities to establish civil law enforcement institutions, relying instead on vigilante justice and mob rule.

It also was a place notorious for its mistreatment and exploitation of Black, Asian, Latino and Native Californians at the hands of white settlers. But the venom against Chinese Americans was particularly poisonous, fueled by editorials in the Los Angeles News that attacked them as “barbarians taking jobs away from whites.”

“Los Angeles in 1871 was a dirty, violent city of nearly 6,000 people. Though the city had a higher homicide rate than New York or Chicago, it employed only six police officers to maintain law and order. Lynchings and mob justice were commonplace,” the Los Angeles Public Library wrote.

It was this world 150 years ago that spawned the Chinese Massacre, a bloody siege that brought shame to Los Angeles and widespread changes in the way the city operated. But it did little to alter the core racism that Asians and other groups would continue to endure.

Oct. 24, 1871

The violence of this day was on a scale that even a city known for its brutality and racial attacks had never seen. In 1999, Cecila Rasmussen of The Times provided this narrative of the chain of events:

Gunfire erupted at 4 p.m., just as former city assessor-turned-patrolman Jesus Bilderrain was polishing off a whiskey at Higby’s saloon. Most of the barroom patrons shrugged off the commotion, but Bilderrain — pistol in hand — dutifully went out the swinging doors into the street. A short distance away, he found a man named Ah Choy shot through the neck (it was later determined this shooting was related to a feud between two Chinese gangs). As Bilderrain blew his whistle to summon help, bullets struck him in the shoulder and wrist.

Running to his rescue, saloon-owner-turned-rancher Robert Thompson was killed, shot through the heart by the same unseen gunmen, who also wounded some of the bystanders.

The rioters, meanwhile, rampaged on. Some climbed to the rooftops and used pickaxes to chop holes, firing through them at the immigrants inside. Two men who ran out into the street were cut down by gunmen on the roofs.

One by one, more victims were hauled from their hiding places, kicked, beaten, stabbed, shot and tortured by their captors. Some were dragged through the streets with ropes around their necks and hanged from a wooden awning over a sidewalk, a covered wagon or the crossbeam of a corral gate. Finally, 15 corpses — including those of a 14-year-old boy and the Chinese community’s only physician, Chee Long Tong — dangled in the City of the Angels. Four others died from gunshot wounds, bringing the death toll at the hands of the mob to 19 — 10% of the city’s tiny Chinese population.

Then, every rickety shanty in Chinatown was looted. “Boys, help yourselves,” was the cry. One lynching victim’s finger was cut off for the diamond ring he wore.

The leaders of the massacre paraded through the streets, displaying their booty, to the laughter and praise of the mob. An estimated $40,000 in cash, gold and jewels was stolen.

The next day’s local newspapers called the riot a “victory of the patriots over the heathens.”

The aftermath

In the end, 19 people died in the attacks.

“Ten percent of the Chinese population had been killed. One of the Chinese caught up in the mob violence was the respected Dr. Gene Tong. In fact, of the killed, only one is thought to have participated in the original gunfight,” the library wrote in its history of the massacre.

Bringing justice for the massacre was going to be a tall order for a city with such weak government institutions and little inclination to hold those who killed accountable. As Rasmussen wrote:

During the subsequent coroner’s inquest and grand jury hearings, police and other city officials — fearful of being labeled “Chinese lovers” — shielded the guilty. “I didn’t recognize anyone” was the recurring statement.

There were no other witnesses, since discriminatory state legislation then prohibited Chinese from testifying in California courts. Still, 37 rioters were indicted, 15 tried and eight convicted of manslaughter. A little more than a year later, however, the California Supreme Court reversed the convictions on the grounds that the original indictment had failed to establish that the Chinese physician had been murdered.

An embarrassed U.S. government subsequently paid imperial China an indemnity to settle the whole affair.

The massacre was a black mark for Los Angeles, and city leaders responded by building up the Police Department and criminal justice system. Vigilante rule began to fade. But the racism endured by Chinese and other minority groups actually worsened.

“The massacre did not result in racial tolerance, in fact, anti-Chinese sentiment increased in the following years. The Anti-Coolie club was formed in 1876, counting many prominent citizens among its members, and the newspapers resumed their editorial attacks against the Chinese,” the library said in its account.

The massacre was largely forgotten for generations. But the history was revived in recent decades, in part by Chinese American activists. It was the subject of two history books: “Eternity Street” by John Mack Faragher and “The Chinatown War” by Scott Zesch.

Michael Woo, the first Chinese American councilman in Los Angeles, ended his review of “The Chinatown War” this way:

“Zesch asks whether the right lessons have been learned. He argues that the 1871 massacre may have marked the end of mob justice in Los Angeles. But Zesch attributes this milestone primarily to improved law enforcement, not to the better angels of our nature taming our impulse to scapegoat, pander and pick up a gun.”

Source: LA Times

Krispy Kreme Will Give You A Free Doughnut Every Day This Year — If You’ve Been Vaccinated

In case you needed another reason to get your COVID-19 vaccination, Krispy Kreme is sweetening the deal — it’s giving free doughnuts to anyone with proof of vaccination, all year long. 

Starting Monday, any customer with a valid COVID-19 vaccination card will receive a free Original Glazed doughnut at participating locations nationwide. The iconic doughnut shop specifies that any guests who have received at least one of the two shots of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine qualify for the promotion. 

All you need to show is your vaccination card to redeem your doughnut — a vaccine sticker is not valid. 

In a press release, Krispy Kreme also said it plans to support health care workers and volunteers who are administering vaccines by delivering free doughnuts to vaccination centers across the country in the coming weeks. To continue encouraging company safety, it is also giving employees up to four hours of paid time off to get the vaccine. 

“We all want to get COVID-19 behind us as fast as possible and we want to support everyone doing their part to make the country safe by getting vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available to them,” Chief Marketing Officer Dave Skena said in a statement. 

A number of companies, including Tyson, Target, Aldi, Trader Joe’s and McDonald’s are offering similar policies. Some companies are giving staffers paid time off to get their vaccines.  

The U.S. has now administered over 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. That equates to more than 35 million Americans fully vaccinated — 10.5% of the total U.S. population.

The Biden administration now estimates it will have enough doses available for every adult by May. Experts hope that clinical trials in teens and children could make some shots available for adolescents by the fall and younger children in early 2022.

Source: CBS News

Georgia Sheriff’s Captain Jay Baker No Longer Spokesman On Atlanta’s Spa Shooting Case; Facebook Posts Surface Of Racist COVID-19 Shirts

A Cherokee County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office spokesperson came under fire Wednesday afternoon for pinning the deadly Tuesday shooting rampage that left eight dead—including six Asian women—on a 21-year-old white man’s “really bad day.”

“Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” Jay Baker said during the joint news conference with the Atlanta Police Department about 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long.

But it seems the same spokesperson shared racist content online, including pointing the finger at China for the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—the same vitriol advocates say has fueled a horrific surge in violence against Asian Americans.

In a Facebook page associated with Capt. Jay Baker of the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, several photos show the law enforcer was promoting T-shirts with the slogan “COVID-19 imported virus from CHY-NA.”

“Place your order while they last,” Baker wrote with a smiley face on a March 30 photo that included the racist T-shirts.

“Love my shirt,” Baker wrote in another post in April 2020. “Get yours while they last.’”

The shirts appear to be printed by Deadline Appeal, owned by a former deputy sheriff from Cherokee County, and sold for $22. The store, which promotes fully customizable gear, also appears to print shirts for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, a “ceremonial unit, all volunteers, who represent not only the Sheriff’s Office but also the county when participating in a variety of events,” according to a March 10 Instagram post.

The photos on Baker’s account were first spotted by a Twitter user.

Multiple photos on the Facebook page show Baker in his uniform and attending sheriff’s department functions, including one with his name tag clearly visible. Baker did not immediately respond to requests for comment on his personal cell phone and to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s office.

When contacted by The Daily Beast, Sheriff Frank Reynolds, who appears to be friends with Baker on Facebook, said he was not familiar with the racist photos.

“I am not aware of that. I will have to contact him, but thank you for bringing that to my attention,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds’ official sheriff’s department page lists as part of his prior experience a 2005 to 2008 stint at the Department of State described entirely in abbreviations: WPPS HTP, IC BWUSA. This would appear to stand for Worldwide Personal Protective Services, a contract the federal government granted the independent contractor Blackwater USA. His campaign page alludes to work in Iraq without naming his employer. But an apparent Reynolds supporter and fellow member of the department shared an image on Facebook of then-candidate’s security clearance so as to dispel rumors that he had a criminal record in 2016. The image, naming Reynolds, showed a contract number corresponding to an indefinite arrangement the State Department inked with Blackwater to provide security guards and control services in 2005.

Blackwater became infamous after its private guards fatally shot 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007. There is at present no evidence linking Reynolds to that incident, and he did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

The massacre at three Asian massage parlors comes amid a shocking wave of anti-Asian violence in the United States. Authorities say Long, the suspect in the grisly crimes, insisted he was not intentionally targeting people of Asian descent. Still, police—including Baker—said the investigation was ongoing and the murders could still be categorized as a hate crime.

The fact that Long allegedly targeted Asian massage parlors and killed a half-dozen Asian women has spurred uproar online and among community leaders. Nearly 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian hate were reported between March 2020 and last month, according to Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition documenting discrimination during the pandemic.

During a Wednesday news conference, Baker seemed to downplay Long’s alleged actions, telling reporters the 21-year-old attributed the crimes to his “sexual addiction” issues. Baker said Long targeted the spas to “take out that temptation.”

Baker’s adopted brother, Anthony Baker, is a Georgia Superior Court judge—and, according to a profile published in January, was born in Vietnam to a woman there who had married an American soldier.

Source: The Daily Beast, VladTV

Asian Hip Hop Record Label 88rising Gets Slammed For Posting Yellow Square On Instagram After Atlanta Shooting

88rising, an Asian American media company, apologized late Wednesday for posting a yellow square to its Instagram page in a clumsy attempt to call attention to the recent spate of anti-Asian violence — including Tuesday’s mass shooting outside Atlanta.

“Thank you to our community for sharing your comments and critiques with us,” said a statement that took the post’s place. “It was never our intention to cause harm, but we recognize the effects of our actions and apologize.”

The original post was criticized for co-opting the black squares that filled Instagram last summer during the height of protests against police brutality and systemic racism against Black people.

The company, which provides management and video production as well as operates a record label and marketing company, insisted that its intentions were pure. “We are not trying to start a yellow square movement, though we understand how it was misinterpreted,” it said in a new statement.

Not only did 88rising draw backlash not only for seeming to piggyback on the show of solidarity associated with Black Lives Matter, but many noted that the black squares were roundly dismissed by organizers last summer as being unhelpful to the cause.

Others said they initially thought the yellow square must be a joke and were shocked to see 88rising actually post one — even after the deadly attack outside Atlanta that left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent.

Moreover, many regard “yellow” as a slur leveled at people of Asian descent — while the term Black is a widely accepted racial category as defined by the U.S. Census.

“Enough is enough. Heartbroken with the disgusting and senseless violence in Georgia tonight,” read the caption of the original post, which has been deleted. “Violence against the Asian community has to stop. Let’s protect each other and stand against hate.”

Source: TheWrap

Chris Hansen On How Scared He Was When First Filming ‘To Catch a Predator’

In this clip, Chris Hansen recalls the first episode of “To Catch a Predator,” and he admits that his nerves were high, as he states, “My heart was in my throat.” Hansen then revealed that everything was set up for the first two episodes- security, transcripts, actors, but there was no police involvement in the show. During the first show, things went as planned with the first two men he confronted, but the third attempt was a little shaky, as Chris grabbed the wrong transcript. Chris added that the third man was also the most aggressive and potentially dangerous. To hear more, including the police getting involved in the third episode, hit the above clip.