Amazon hit back at New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday after the congresswoman claimed Jeff Bezos’ e-commerce company paid workers “starvation wages” and limited their access to healthcare.
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“[Ocasio-Cortez] is just wrong. Amazon is a leader on pay at $15 min wage + full benefits from day one. We also lobby to raise federal min wage,” the company tweeted Monday.
The tweet included a clip of Ocasio-Cortez appearing on ABC News’ “This Week” where she was asked if Bezos would still retain his billionaire status if she implemented a “true progressive program.”
“For me, I spend less time thinking about Jeff Bezos and more time thinking about Amazon warehouse workers. I think about the outcomes I want for those folks,” Ocasio-Cortez told ABC News. “Whether Jeff Bezos is a billionaire or not is less of my concern than if 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.”
“And if that’s the case, and Jeff Bezos is still a billionaire, that’s one thing,” she continued. “But if his being a billionaire is predicated on paying people starvation wages and stripping them of their ability to access healthcare, and also, if his ability to be a billionaire is predicated on the fact that his workers take food stamps so I’m paying for him to be a billionaire.”
When asked if she believes Bezos was a billionaire because he paid his workers “starvation wages,” the congresswoman responded: “I think it’s certainly a part of the equation when you have a very large workforce and you underpay every single person.”
“And then you also participate in taking billions of dollars of government subsidies, that could be part of it,” she added.
An Amazon spokesperson also responded to the congresswoman's comments on Sunday in a statement to FOX Business.
“These allegations are absurd. Amazon associates receive industry-leading pay starting at $15 an hour – in fact, hourly associates at our Staten Island facility earn between $17.30 and $23 an hour, plus benefits which include comprehensive medical, dental and vision insurance,” a spokesperson said Sunday night.
“On top of these benefits, Amazon pre-pays 95 percent of continuing education tuition costs through its Career Choice program for associates who want to pursue in-demand careers. For anyone who wants to know what it's like to work in an Amazon fulfillment center, sign up for a tour today,” the company spokesperson added.
It’s not the first time the freshman congresswoman has criticized Bezos or Amazon. One of the most notable incidents was Ocasio-Cortez’s disapproval of Amazon building a second headquarters in New York City. The company, which was considering building its “HQ2” in Queens’ Long Island City neighborhood, canceled its plans after facing fierce opposition from Ocasio-Cortez, several other lawmakers and some residents.
Fox Business' Matt Kazin contributed to this report.