The retail giant has written a blog post in response to the Vermont Senator's criticisms of its working conditions.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on August 30, 2018

“Senator Sanders continues to make inaccurate and misleading accusations against Amazon,” the blog post, credited to ‘Day One Staff’, reads.

“We have been in regular contact with his office and have offered several opportunities for Senator Sanders and his team to tour one of our fulfillment centers (FCs). To date he has still not seen an FC for himself.

“Instead, Senator Sanders continues to spread misleading statements about pay and benefits. 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.”

Bernie Sanders v Amazon

The company also said it was helping its employees through its Career Choice program, which can fund up to 95% of tutition, fees and textbooks for Amazon staff. It says more than 16,000 employees have participated in the program.

Sanders has been a long time critic of Amazon’s working conditions and wages and previously wrote a petition to be delivered to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos which read: ” Mr. Bezos: It is long past time you start to pay your workers a living wage and improve working conditions at Amazon warehouses all across the country. It is beyond absurd that you would make more money in ten seconds than the median employee of Amazon makes in an entire year.

“Meanwhile, thousands of Amazon employees are forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing because their wages are too low. I don’t believe that ordinary Americans should be subsidizing the wealthiest person in the world because you pay your employees inadequate wages.”

The company has generally not responded to Sanders’ criticisms that many of its workers rely on government subsidies due to its low wages. It has also maintained a silence in spite of barbs from Donald Trump.

After Amazon posted the blog, Sanders responded on Twitter by challenging Amazon to prove his claims were wrong.

“Make public the number of people you hire through temporary staffing agencies like Integrity Staffing Solutions and make public the hourly rate and benefits those workers earn,” he wrote.

In another tweet, he drew attention to Amazon’s practice of financially rewarding its staff members for tweeting positive things about working at Amazon.

Sanders is planning to propose legislation that would impose a tax on large companies commensurate with the government benefits their workers receive. He says that if employers were obligated to pay employees a living wage, taxpayers would save some US$150 billion a year on welfare spending.

Amazon has recently been accused of using fake Twitter accounts to defend itself from criticism on social media. The company has also been under fire after a spike in health and safety complaints from its workers during Amazon Prime Day.

Earlier in 2018, Amazon was admonished by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health as one of the most dangerous workplaces.