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St. Peters warehouse Amazon workers demand clean drinking water, breathable bathrooms

"These are the conditions we are working under. We want to be safe here," worker George Davis pleaded.

ST. PETERS, Mo. — It's Amazon's first robotics fulfillment center in the state.

The 855,000-square-foot building, called STL8, recruited hundreds of workers like George Davis in 2019.

Davis has been there for three years and wears several hats. 

He's also a part of the STL8 Organizing Committee, which seeks improvements like better pay and work conditions.

The group claims the drinking water and the bathroom conditions at the St. Peters location has been subpar.

"With the smell of water ... the tap water is just coming out milky ... also smelling like bleach. Some of the employees have been drinking the water and getting ill, nausea and things like that," he said.

Davis shared it's been like this for almost four weeks. 

Credit: KSDK
Photo of water.

He added that there's been another problem going on for years.

"The bathrooms are sometimes unbearable with a strong odor," he said. 

On Monday, several employees went to management asking for a fix. They said the general manager told them he will look into it and get it fixed.

The committee said this isn't the first time they made complaints about these issues. More than week ago, the group expressed the discolored water concerns. 

"We discussed this with management and got nothing," he said. 

They claim bottles of water were provided, but not without workers taking time off to leave their station to grab them.

"These are the conditions we are working under. We want to be safe here," Davis pleaded. "I just want to raise awareness for every employee to take in consideration, look at this and understand and that’s our right. That’s our right to do this."

The committee sent out a survey and within the last four days, employees answered this:

  • 50% of workers said they felt ill after drinking the water.
  • 63% of workers said the water still has an unusual smell or appearance.
  • 91% of workers said they still don’t believe the water is safe or they’re not sure if it’s safe.

The committee has asked for improvements:

  • Testing the tap water at STL8 by a third party and sharing the testing results directly with employees.
  • Placement of bottled water at our workstations so workers don’t lose time going to a break area to get water.
  • Temporary outdoor bathrooms because workers have felt ill from the fumes in the bathroom stalls.
  • Respecting workers’ right to organize for higher wages, safer work, and the right to form a union without retaliation.

Maureen Lynch Vogel, Amazon spokesperson, released this statement to 5 On Your Side:

“The water at our site is safe and running as you would expect, and the video circulating is old footage of a situation that has already been dealt with. We noticed the discoloration following the routine test of a fire suppression pump some weeks ago. The City of St. Peters confirmed their water is, and was, safe, but regardless, we provided pallets of bottled water for employees to use for their own comfort and assurance.”

Amazon also shares:

  • It happened after a third party completed a routine test of the site’s fire suppression pump earlier this month.
  • This resulted in temporary changes to the water color.
  • The City of St. Peters confirmed their water always was safe and the discoloration has been resolved.
  • In addition to bottled water, employees always have access to the 99 water coolers around the site, which all are equipped with filtration systems similar to those found in home refrigerators.

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