Amazon took to Twitter on Monday to refute a claim Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made during her interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that the company pays its workers “starvation wages.”
“@AOC is just wrong,” Amazon tweeted from its @AmazonNews Twitter account. “Amazon is a leader on pay at $15 min wage + full benefits from day one. We also lobby to raise federal min wage.”
On Sunday, ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl asked Ocasio-Cortez whether Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos would still remain a billionaire under a “true progressive program”, to which she responded that she is not as concerned “whether Jeff Bezos is a billionaire or not” and is more concerned over whether “your average Amazon worker is making a living wage, if they have guaranteed health care and if they can send their kids to college tuition-free.”
Ocasio-Cortez told Karl that part of Bezos “being a billionaire is predicated on paying people starvation wages and stripping them of their ability to access health care” as well as “taking billions of dollars of government subsidies” from having many workers on food stamps.
Amazon's senior vice president of global corporate affairs and former press secretary to President Barack Obama, Jay Carney, also slammed Ocasio-Cortez, tweeting later on Monday that she should stop “making stuff up about Amazon” and instead “focus on raising the federal minimum wage.” He added that “more than 42% of all working Americans earn less than the $15/hour” which Amazon pays its “entry-level fulfillment center employees” and that all their “employees get top-tier benefits.”
A spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez, Corbin Trent, did not directly respond to Amazon's tweets regarding its minimum wage but further criticized Amazon for not paying federal income tax in a statement to ABC News.
“Amazon built a nearly trillion-dollar company on the backs of the American people. They have a business model that relies on the American taxpayer. Amazon has made billions using our roads, bridges, postal service, airports, and internet - all built with the tax dollars of hardworking Americans. You would think a company that relies so heavily on taxpayer innovations would be more willing to contribute to our society, but you'd be wrong. Amazon pays zero federal income tax, has extorted our cities and states for tax breaks and their employees often rely on government subsidies to get by. It is time for Amazon to do right by their employees. It is time for Amazon to do right by the American people,” said Trent.
Amazon announced in 2018 that it would raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour for all U.S. employees after yielding to pressure from critics.
"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead," Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and CEO, said in a statement back in October. "We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us."
The New York congresswoman has for long been a vocal critic of the tech giant. She celebrated in February when Amazon canceled their plans to open a second headquarters in Long Island City, New York, after facing fierce opposition from several lawmakers including Ocasio-Cortez.
"Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon's corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted at the time.