Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Seattle, WA, United States (4E) – After four months of being on the receiving end of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) attacks on its shameless exploitation of its lowly-paid workers, Amazon.com has hit back, saying the outspoken liberal “plays politics and makes misleading accusations.”
“Senator Sanders continues to spread misleading statements about pay and benefits,” said Amazon in a blog explaining its point of view. Amazon claims the average hourly wage for a full-time associate in fulfillment centers (or warehouses), including cash, stock, and incentive bonuses, is over $15 an hour.
In reply to Sen. Sanders’ accusation some Amazon employees are receiving federal benefits like food stamps, or SNAP, Amazon said it’s “because they include people who only worked for Amazon for a short period of time and/or chose to work part-time — both of these groups would almost certainly qualify for SNAP.”
Amazon also said Sen. Sanders hasn’t visited its warehouses despite repeated invitations.
Sen. Sanders began tearing into Amazon in earnest in April when he posted a video online criticizing Amazon’s treatment of its warehouse workers, who he says are underpaid and seriously overworked. He compared these workers’ dire straits to that of Bezos — the world’s richest person — “who makes more in 10 seconds than the median Amazon employee makes in a year: $28,466,” according to Sanders.
Sen. Sanders described this shameful income inequality as a clear sign of “a rigged economy.” He also champions raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Sen. Sanders will introduce on September 5 a bill that will require big corporations such as Amazon to pay employees more. This is a continuation of Sen. Sanders’ fight against income inequality. The proposed bill targets Amazon and also other big employers like Walmart.
“If Amazon, Walmart and other corporations won’t pay their workers a living wage, our bill would establish a 100% tax equal to the amount of federal benefits received by their low-wage workers. The American taxpayer should not be subsidizing the richest people in history so they can underpay their employees,” said Sen. Sanders in a statement.
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