Speed Reads


Amazon urges employees to tell Bernie Sanders how much they love working there

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) keeps criticizing Amazon, and the company is getting frustrated.

Sanders is working on a bill that would tax companies for any money spent on food stamps for employees, and he has slammed corporations like Amazon and Walmart for paying "very low wages" that he says force workers onto public assistance. The accusations have riled Amazon, and on Wednesday the company published a statement defending itself, reports The Verge.

"Sen. Sanders continues to make inaccurate and misleading accusations against Amazon," the statement reads. Regarding Sanders' claim that Amazon employees use the government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Amazon said those individuals were people "who only worked for Amazon for a short period of time and/or chose to work part-time," not full-time employees earning the online retailer's "highly competitive wages."

The company has now gone on the offensive, urging employees to tell Sanders how much they love working at Amazon. Sanders circulated a form for Amazon workers to describe their experiences, asking if they've used "food stamps, Medicaid, or subsidized housing, in order to make ends meet." Amazon's head of global operations, Dave Clark, tweeted that he hopes Sanders wants to hear the opposite, as well. "Please tell him your truth," he wrote.

Sanders, for his part, is standing by his claims. "Amazon's median employee pay is only $28,446 — 9 percent less than the industry average and well below what constitutes a living wage in the United States," the senator said in a rebutting statement. "If Amazon is so proud of the way it treats its workers," he continued, then Amazon should release more information on its hourly rates. Read more at The Verge. Summer Meza

Update Aug. 31: Amazon reached out to The Week to dispute Sanders' description of its salaries, saying that the $28,446 figure "is global and includes part-time employees." "In fact," the company wrote, "the median U.S. salary for full-time Amazon employees is $34,123." Read Amazon's updated blog post here.