Amazon Workers in St. Charles demand clean drinking water, breathable bathrooms at warehouse

WORKERS AT AMAZON fulfillment center STL8 marched on the boss April 24 to demand a third-party test of water at the facility to ensure it is potable. – STL8 Organizing Committee photo

St. Charles, MO – After more than a week of inadequate action from management, workers at Amazon fulfillment center STL8 marched on the boss April 24 to demand a third-party test of water at the facility to ensure it is potable.

Workers took action after observing that water from faucets and toilets inside the facility was discolored and had a strong odor that made workers feel ill. Management, while denying the water’s toxicity, stocked bottled water in break areas, but not in work areas. This means workers have to use personal time, or accrue “time off task,” in order to access drinkable water from the break room, at times a long walk away from the shop floor.

In addition to third-party testing, workers also are demanding access to drinkable bottled water in work areas, and portable bathrooms in the parking lot so workers can avoid exposure to fumes from the toilet water inside bathroom stalls.

An informal survey of workers conducted by workers the week of April 17-21 revealed that 91 percent of the 58 worker respondents think either that the water is unsafe or aren’t sure if it is safe, and that 50 percent of the workers reported feeling sick after drinking the water.

“Management shared that there were issues with the water only after we spoke up about it. They’ve said the water is safe, but our survey shows that a lot of us still don’t trust that we can drink it. Working people, Black, brown and white, from Flint to East Palestine to St. Louis, have the right to clean water in our communities and at work. To put me and my coworkers at ease, management should hire someone from outside to test the water and have them share the results. Until then, we’re requesting bottled water at workstations and outdoor bathrooms. These are common sense solutions that would soothe our concerns,” stated Roger Hooks, an Amazon worker at STL8.

After repeated denial and inaction from management at the fulfillment center, workers filed a health and safety complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Workers at STL8 have been advocating for better pay and policies, as well as safer conditions on the job, since September 2022 when workers organized a petition with hundreds of signatures and delivered the demands to management in a march on the boss. When management continued to ignore their demands, workers went on strike and walked off the job last Black Friday–one of the busiest seasons of the year–reiterating their demands of higher pay, safer work conditions, and greater accessibility to work policies. Management has yet to respond to these demands.


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