Amazon is fighting back against Bernie Sanders’ criticism that the company pays its warehouse workers poor wages, calling the Vermont senator’s claims “inaccurate and misleading” in a statement on Wednesday.
Sanders has skewered the e-commerce king recently, saying Amazon shouldn’t have thousands of workers on government-funded programs like food stamps.
Sanders plans to introduce a bill next week that mandates major companies like Amazon and Walmart cover food stamps, public housing, and Medicaid, among other programs — legislation that will save taxpayers $150 billion, according to the senator.
Amazon, in a rare public response, said Sanders has declined “several opportunities” to tour its fulfillment centers.
“Instead, Senator Sanders continues to spread misleading statements about pay and benefits,” said Amazon in its statement. “Amazon is proud to have created over 130,000 new jobs last year alone. In the U.S., the average hourly wage for a full-time associate in our fulfillment centers, including cash, stock, and incentive bonuses, is over $15/hour before overtime. We encourage anyone to compare our pay and benefits to other retailers.”
Sanders has railed against the work conditions at Amazon’s fulfillment centers this summer. He tweeted last month the “grossly underpaid” warehouse workers are “afraid to take bathroom breaks at work.”
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world and someone unlikely to be a “Bernie bro,” has been the target of much of Sanders’ barbs.
“Mr. Bezos continues to pay many thousands of his Amazon employees wages that are so low that they are forced to depend on taxpayer-funded programs, such as food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing in order to survive,” Sanders said in a Facebook video last week. “Frankly, I don’t believe that ordinary Americans should be subsidizing the wealthiest people in the world because they pay their employees inadequate wages.”
In its statement Wednesday, Amazon said Sanders’ references to food stamps are “misleading because they include people who worked for Amazon for a short period of time” or part-time workers.
“In addition to highly competitive wages and a climate controlled, safe workplace, Amazon provides employees with a comprehensive benefit package including health insurance, disability insurance, retirement savings plans, and company stock,” the company added.