WASHINGTON — Amazon will be hosting Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at one of the online retail giant’s fulfillment centers after the former Democratic presidential candidate complained that CEO Jeff Bezos “is what a rigged economy is all about.”
Sanders posted a video online today highlighting the company’s wealth in juxtaposition to workers’ salaries, including news clips that detailed Bezos hauling in within the span of 10 seconds what the average Amazon employee makes in a year as well as the company spending $13 million on lobbying last year.
“Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ wealth increases by $275 million every single day,” Sanders wrote along with the video. “Meanwhile, Amazon workers have to rely on food stamps and public assistance just to survive.”
In his address last week to the Center for American Progress Ideas Conference, the senator slammed Bezos’ “total increase in wealth of $33 billion in a four-month period” but also took aim at “the Walton family of Walmart and other wealthy families — they get much richer while their employees hurt.”
Amazon responded to Sanders on Twitter just hours after he posted the Bezos video today. “We’ve created over 130K new full-time jobs in the last year alone. Good jobs w/highly competitive pay & full benefits. Avg hourly wage in the U.S. for a full-time associate in our fulfillment centers, including cash, stock, & incentive bonuses, is over $15/hour. Competitive pay + full benefits — health, vision/dental, retirement, generous parental leave, & training for in-demand jobs through our Career Choice program. Please compare our median pay & benefits to other retailers. We’d be happy for you to come see an FC for yourself.”
Sanders took Amazon up on the offer.
“Thank you very much for your response to our video. I remain deeply concerned about Amazon, an enormously profitable corporation, paying workers wages that are so low that they are forced to depend on federal programs like Medicaid, food stamps and public housing for survival. At a time of exploding profits, I would hope that Amazon would pay everyone who works in your fulfillment centers a living wage,” Sanders replied in a statement. “Thank you very much for your invitation to visit a fulfillment center. I look forward to doing that. Let’s work out a mutually convenient time.”