Amazon Goes On Offensive Against Critics In Washington

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Image credit: Amazon

Amazon takes offensive on social media against senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren as it faces battles over labour issues and market power

Amazon has taken taken the offensive on social media against two US lawmakers who are prominent critics.

The company levelled direct criticisms on Amazon News, its official Twitter PR account, against senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, respectively of Vermont and Massachusetts, over labour and tax issues.

The move comes as the company, which has so far remained union-free, faces its most significant union campaign to date.

Sanders visited the company’s Bessemer, Alabama warehouse on Friday, to express support for workers who are voting on whether to unionise.

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Image credit: US Senate

Union drive

Amazon took Sanders to task, pointing out that Vermont’s minimum wage, at $11.75 (£8.50) per hour, is lower than Amazon’s basic wage of $15 per hour.

Sanders is currently campaigning to raise the federal minimum wage to $15.

“Sanders would rather talk in Alabama than act in Vermont,” Amazon said.

The account also retweeted an earlier comment by worldwide consumer chief Dave Clark that Sanders should “save his finger wagging lecture until after he actually delivers in his own backyard”.

At the rally in Bessemer, Sanders directed comments directly to Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, questioning his efforts to “defeat” the union vote.

“Why, when you have so much money — more money than can be spent in a million lifetimes — why are you spending millions trying to defeat an effort on the part of workers here who want nothing more than decent wages, decent benefits, decent working conditions?” he said.

Antitrust

Amazon also directed its ire at Warren, who earlier in the week criticised the company for exploiting tax loopholes.

The company said it only follows the laws created by others.

“If you don’t like the laws you’ve created, by all means, change them,” Amazon said, to which Warren responded that the loopholes were created not by lawmakers but by “your armies of lawyers and lobbyists”.

She continued that she would “fight to break up Big Tech so you’re not powerful enough to heckle senators with snotty tweets”.

Amazon continued the spat with the reply that her comments were “extraordinary and revealing”.

Tensions

“One of the most powerful politicians in the United States just said she’s going to break up an American company so that they can’t criticise her anymore,” the company said.

Tensions between the US government and big tech companies have grown more pronounced in recent months, with tech giants facing multiple antitrust actions and the threat of increased regulation.

Amazon’s Bezos testified before Congress last July, along with the chiefs of Apple, Facebook and Google, in a six-hour hearing focusing on competition issues.

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