Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., used his speech at a Vermont rally to take parting shots at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos while discussing the wage gap in the U.S.
Sanders was in Vermont and New Hampshire to give a keynote speech at an AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast event before holding two rallies, according to MyChamplainValley.com.
“We have one person whose wealth is increasing by $250 million every single day, while he pays thousands of his workers wages that are so low that they are forced to go on food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing,” Sanders said, referencing Bezos.
Sanders also used his events to address Vermont workers.
“The reality is that the average American worker is still seeing a decline in his and her wages,” he said. “People continue to work longer hours for low wages. Here in Vermont, folks are working two or three jobs to put food on the table and pay bills.”
The senator’s shots at Amazon come days after he claimed the company doesn’t pay its employees enough and voiced concerns over conditions at fulfillment centers.
“Bottom line: the taxpayers of this country should not have to subsidize employees at a company owned by Mr. Bezos who is worth $155 billion. That is absurd,” Sanders wrote in a post Saturday.
Sanders also claimed Amazon had been “less than forthcoming with information about their employment practices.” He said the company’s average pay was about 9 percent less than industry average and “well below” a living wage.
Amazon refuted Sanders’ claims that it doesn’t pay employees a livable wage and therefore they have to rely on government programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
"We have one person whose wealth is increasing by $250 million every single day, while he pays thousands of his workers wages that are so low that they are forced to go on food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing."
“Senator Sanders continues to spread misleading statements about pay and benefits,” a company blog post read. “Amazon is proud to have created over 130,000 new jobs last year alone. 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. We encourage anyone to compare our pay and benefits to other retailers.”
Sanders is expected to unveil a bill this week that would require large employers to cover the cost of federal assistance received by their employees by imposing a 100 percent tax on those benefits.