Amazon picked a fight with Bernie Sanders after he slammed Jeff Bezos for getting richer while not providing warehouse workers with sick leave and PPE

Advertisement
Amazon picked a fight with Bernie Sanders after he slammed Jeff Bezos for getting richer while not providing warehouse workers with sick leave and PPE
Sen. Bernie Sanders is seen speaking in Dover, New Hampshire, in September 2019.Brian Snyder/Reuters
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders criticized Amazon for not giving its workers sick leave or hazard pay, and founder Jeff Bezos' enormous wealth, in a Twitter thread on Wednesday.
  • Amazon's corporate account responded to the tweet, defending how the company has protected employees during the pandemic.
  • "We encourage you to compare our pay, benefits and safety measures to others, and you'll see that we're a leader," Amazon tweeted.
  • However, Amazon warehouse employees have for months complained of insufficient pay and protection while working to keep up with an uptick in demand during the pandemic.
  • More than 50 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since March, while US billionaires have gained more than $750 billion in wealth.

Amazon defended its corporate response to the coronavirus outbreak after Sen. Bernie Sanders called out the company's treatment of its warehouse workers and its founder's enormous wealth in a tweet Wednesday night.

"While Amazon is denying paid sick leave, hazard pay and personal protective equipment to 450,000 of its workers, Jeff Bezos has increased his wealth by $70 million," Sanders tweeted.

Amazon's corporate account was quick to respond, and invited Sanders to tour a fulfilment center and "see for yourself" how it has made "the health & safety" of employees their "top concern."

Advertisement

Amazon said it has provided "more than 151 millions masks" and "64 million ounces of hand sanitizer" to employees, and are enforcing "mandatory temperature checks" and "social distancing."

It also boasted of creating 175,000 new jobs since the pandemic began, paying two times the federal minimum wage, and investing more than $800 million "in extra pay over the last several months."

"We encourage you to compare our pay, benefits and safety measures to others, and you'll see that we're a leader," Amazon tweeted.

Advertisement

Sanders did not respond to Amazon's tweet. Business Insider contacted his office for comment Thursday morning, but did not immediately receive a response.

Despite the protections Amazon boasted about on Twitter, Amazon workers struggling to keep up with the uptick in demand for online goods have been getting sick and dying of the coronavirus. Large outbreaks have occured at Amazon fulfillment centers in Minnesota and New Jersey.

The National Labor Relations Board is also looking into multiple claims that Amazon fired workers who spoke out about the company's coronavirus response.

Advertisement

Meanwhile, the pandemic has been profitable for founder Jeff Bezos, who was already the richest man in the world.

Sanders' tweet about Amazon came in a threat about his introducing legislation on Thursday to tax the "obscene wealth gains billionaires have made during the public health crisis."

Between March 18 and July 23, more than 50 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, the Institute for Policy Studies reported. In that same time period, American billionaires have increased their wealth by over $750 billion.

Advertisement
{{}}