By Erin Corbett
August 29, 2018

Amazon responded on Wednesday to claims made by Sen. Bernie Sanders that the company doesn’t pay fair wages to lower-level workers and that it maintains poor working conditions in its fulfillment centers.

The Vermont senator has been calling attention to the company and founder Jeff Bezos for months, suggesting that some Amazon workers have to rely on food stamps, while their boss’s wealth increases by millions of dollars each day. “This is what a rigged economy is all about,” Sanders wrote on Twitter.

Most recently, Sanders encouraged Amazon workers to share their experiences working for the company, including whether they have needed public assistance, such as food stamps or Medicaid.

In a company blog post published on Wednesday, Amazon responded to Sanders’s accusations, calling them “inaccurate and misleading.” The company claimed in the post that it has been in communication with Sanders’ office and has offered the senator a tour of its fulfillment centers, which Sanders has not yet seen.

“Instead, Senator Sanders continues to spread misleading statements about pay and benefits,” Amazon wrote. The company also encouraged workers to share positive experiences of working at Amazon with Sanders.

The senator’s attacks on Amazon started earlier this year after warehouse workers shared stories with Business Insider of urinating in trash cans out of fear they would take too long in the bathroom; and short, timed breaks. Months later, in July, a Guardian investigation revealed multiple cases of Amazon workers losing their homes and workplace accidents that left them unable to work or receive compensation.

In its blog post, Amazon claimed that full-time associates in its fulfillment centers make more than $15-per-hour including cash, stock, and incentive bonuses. “We encourage anyone to compare our pay and benefits to other retailers,” the company wrote.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that Amazon has gone as far as to pay “FC Ambassadors”—or, employees at fulfillment centers—to defend the company on Twitter.

On his end, Sanders will introduce a bill on Sept. 5, demanding that large corporations cover the full cost of federal assistance received by employees.

“At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, the gap between the very rich and everyone else continues to grow wider,” Sanders wrote in a statement, reported by the Daily Beast. “That is why I am introducing legislation in September to demand that Mr. Bezos and other billionaires get off welfare and start paying their workers a living wage.”

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