Amazon slams Bernie Sanders over ‘inaccurate’ accusations against company

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E-commerce giant Amazon took to its blog on Wednesday to hit back at “inaccurate and misleading” criticisms from Sen. Bernie Sanders, in an unusual political post from the tech giant.

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Amazon refuted the Independent Vermont senator’s claims that it doesn’t pay lower-level employees a livable wage and therefore workers have to rely on government assistance programs, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), at the expense of other taxpayers.

“Senator Sanders continues to spread misleading statements about pay and benefits,” representatives for the company wrote on its Day One blog. “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.”

The company added that Sanders’ references to SNAP, “which hasn’t been called ‘food stamps’ for several years,” are misleading because they include part-time employees and those who only worked for the company for a short period of time – adding that these groups would “almost certainly qualify for SNAP.”

Sanders is expected to unveil legislation next week that would require large employers to cover the cost of federal assistance received by their employees through imposing a 100 percent tax on these benefits. The aim is to encourage companies, like Amazon, to pay higher wages and reduce the burden on the taxpayers that subsidize these programs. He recently created a survey for Amazon employees to ask whether they receive SNAP benefits, which the tech giant’s senior vice president of operations publicly encouraged employees to fill out.

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Recent reports, citing the New Food Economy, show that as many as one-third of Amazon’s employees in Arizona receive food stamps, as do one-in-10 in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Sanders has also criticized the company for poor working conditions at its fulfillment centers.

The company on Wednesday claimed that despite several invites, Sanders has not personally toured any of its fulfillment centers.

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