Amazon responds to AOC criticism, champions higher minimum wage
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Amazon responds to AOC criticism, champions higher minimum wage

In a highly unusual move, ecommerce giant Amazon has publicly responded to criticisms from New York’s democratic representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (known in the media as AOC). Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a rare breed in American politics: a young, female, Hispanic, socialist that has captured vast swathes of public attention as other left-leaning politicians (Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren) rail against the system. In addition to these factors, AOC is also an outspoken critic of Amazon – with some observers blaming her for the company’s decision to abandon its plans for a New York headquarters. Despite all this, it is unusual that Amazon chooses to respond to criticism in the media.

Amazon’s share price has appreciated by 28% so far this year

Amazon June 19

Source: Yahoo Finance

On ABC News’s This Week segment, AOC told presenters that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s rise to billionaire status was predicated on exploitative business practises, saying: “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 are taking food stamps.”

This isn’t the first time AOC has hit out at the super-rich – she is on record as saying that any society which produces billionaires is inherently unjust. Whatever your views over billionaires and wealth distribution, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s statements on Amazon include factual errors – and the company has broken with precedent by addressing them publicly.

In a Tweet on Monday, Amazon said AOC was “just wrong,” adding: “Amazon is a leader on pay at $15 min wage + full benefits from day one.” The company went on to highlight that it’s challenging poverty politically, too, writing: “we also lobby to raise federal min wage.”

The company’s head of communications, Jay Carney, added some substance to the debate, saying: “more than 42% of all working Americans earn less than the $15/hour Amazon pays entry-level fulfilment centre 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.”

Disclosure

Dominion holds Amazon in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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