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Amazon condemns Ocasio-Cortez for slamming Bezos' wealth

Business Insider logo Business Insider 6/17/2019 Hayley Peterson

Amazon blasted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday after the Democratic congresswoman accused the company of paying its workers "starvation wages" and said its CEO, Jeff Bezos, became a billionaire in part by underpaying "every single" one of his employees.

"@AOC is just wrong," Amazon tweeted Monday morning 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."

It's relatively rare for Amazon to publicly condemn a politician on Twitter. The tweet included a video of Ocasio-Cortez's remarks attacking Amazon, which she delivered during a Sunday appearance on ABC's "This Week."

In discussing how Bezos attained his wealth, Ocasio-Cortez said, "If his being a billionaire is predicated on paying people starvation wages and stripping them of their ability to access health care ... and on the fact that his workers take food stamps, so I'm paying for him to be a billionaire, I think it's certainly a part of the equation."

She also added: "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."

Ocasio-Cortez said Amazon and Bezos should pay more in taxes, give up all government subsidies, send people to college tuition-free, and guarantee health care to all workers. 

An Amazon spokesperson called her claims "absurd" in a statement to Fox Business.

"These allegations are absurd," the statement reads. "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. On top of these benefits, Amazon pre-pays 95% 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."

Ocasio-Cortez has been an outspoken critic of Amazon in the past. She was blamed in part for Amazon's decision in February to cancel its planned second headquarters in New York City.

Related video: Why Musk and Bezos are in an epic feud that's lasted years

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