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Amazon.com Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) social media feud against prominent U.S. lawmakers last week was a result of top company executives following a broad mandate from CEO Jeff Bezos, according to a report by Recode.
What Happened: Bezos asked company officials to aggressively push back against criticisms by U.S. senators Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) of the e-commerce giant’s labor and business practices, as per the report.
The move came as Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama were voting on whether to unionize and Sanders, a frequent critic of Amazon, was scheduled to meet with the Amazon warehouse workers on Friday. The vote is scheduled to end on Monday.
Top Amazon executive Dave Clark fired off a series of tweets by taking jabs at Sanders over the debate about raising the federal minimum wage. He argued that the minimum wage in Sanders’ home state of Vermont is only $11.75 an hour, while Amazon’s minimum wage is $15 per hour. Clark also advised Sanders to save his “finger wagging lecture until after he actually delivers in his own backyard.”
The official “Amazon News” media relations Twitter account then engaged in a feud with Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) for questioning Clark’s progressive workplace assertion and claiming that Amazon makes workers “urinate in water bottles.”
Amazon News also engaged in a tussle with Senator Elizabeth Warren, who accused the company of exploiting tax loopholes.
This is extraordinary and revealing. 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 criticize her anymore. https://t.co/Nt0wcZo17g
— Amazon News (@amazonnews) March 26, 2021
Why It Matters: Following intense criticism from Sanders and others, Amazon said in 2018 that it would raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour. Bezos admitted in a press release the decision was made after listening to "critics."
In addition, the union campaign has increasing support from U.S. lawmakers. Amazon is worried that if a majority of the Alabama warehouse employees vote to unionize, workers at its other facilities may also vote in a similar manner and force the company to overhaul how it manages its workforce.
Price Action: Amazon shares closed 0.02% higher on Friday at $3,052.03.
Photo by Steve Jurvetson on Flickr
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