Amazon is responding to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D-NY) claims that Amazon pays workers "starvation wages." AOC's comments were made earlier this week on ABC News' "This Week," when she was asked about Amazon and the company's CEO, Jeff Bezos, and what she'd like to see in a "truly progressive" agenda.
"I'm spending more time thinking about Amazon warehouse workers than I'm thinking of Jeff Bezos. I think about the outcome I want to see for those folks. Jeff Bezos is less of a concern for me 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," Ocasio-Cortez explained. "And, if that's the case, and Jeff Bezos is still a billionaire, then that's one thing, but if his being a billionaire is predicated on paying people starvation wages and stripping them of their ability to access health care, and also if his ability to be a billionaire is predicated on the fact that his workers take food stamps, so I'm paying him to be a billionaire-"
"Do you think that's why he's a billionaire, because he pays starvation wages?" the anchor asked.
"I think it's certainly a part of the equation when you have a very large workforce and you underpay every single person," AOC responded. "And that you also, you know, participate in taking billions of dollars of government subsidies, I think that could be part of it."
She tried putting a positive spin on it.
"But, if he's willing to give up all of his government subsidies, willing to charge fair taxes, if we're willing to pay people a living wage, send people to college tuition-free, guarantee everyone health care, and he's still a billionaire, well, that's a fight we can have another day," she said.
President Barack Obama's former Press Secretary, Jay Carney, now serves as Amazon's Senior Vice President. He responded directly to AOC in a tweet, refuting the claim:
More than 42% of all working Americans earn less than the $15/hour Amazon pays entry-level fulfillment center employees. And all our employees get top-tier benefits. I’d urge @AOC to focus on raising the federal minimum wage instead of making stuff up about Amazon. https://t.co/ClhFfOrywd— Jay Carney (@JayCarney) June 17, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez fought to keep Amazon out of her district. Amazon decided not to build a warehouse, which resulted in thousands of New Yorkers losing out on potential jobs. AOC was happy about "winning the fight" but faced major backlash for the job loss.