By Kyle Perisic
Amazon responded on Wednesday to the claims Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont made about the company’s treatment and pay of its employees, calling them “inaccurate and misleading.”
“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,” Amazon responded in a blog post Wednesday.
Sanders, an Independent, is planning on proposing legislation that would force large companies like Amazon and Walmart to pay for the welfare their workers collect from tax payers, The Washington Post reported Friday.
“While Mr. Bezos is worth $155 billion and while his wealth has increased $260 million every single day this year, he continues to pay many 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 just to get by,” Sanders said in a statement Friday, according to Business Insider.
The former 2016 Democratic presidential primary contender added in the statement that Amazon should pay a “livable wage” to its employees.
Amazon continued in its response to list the employee benefits it offers, including a program that helps pay for higher education.
“While Senator Sanders plays politics and makes misleading accusations, we are expending real money and effort upskilling people with our Career Choice program,” Amazon added in its response. “Career Choice is an innovative benefit that pre-pays 95 percent of tuition, fees and textbooks (up to $12,000) for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether they’re related to skills for jobs at Amazon or not. We have over 16,000 employees who have participated in Career Choice.”
A significant portion of Amazon employees working in its warehouses, as high as one in three in Arizona, rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps.
An Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider that it encourages critics to compare the number of employees it has on SNAP to other retailers, the publication reported Saturday.
“Amazon is proud to have created over 130,000 new jobs last year alone,” the spokesperson added. “These are good jobs with highly competitive pay and full benefits. 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.”
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