- Fifteen US senators including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris tore into Amazon in a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos published Friday, describing the company’s record on worker safety as „dismal.“
- In the letter, the senators expressed „serious concern“ about the safety of Amazon’s employees, citing numerous recent reports of worker mistreatment.
- On Monday night, Amazon’s public-relations chief, Jay Carney, sparred with journalists on Twitter after some took issue with an op-ed article he wrote called „Why Bernie Sanders praised Amazon.“
- Journalists said Carney’s article presented Sanders as having blindly praised Amazon for improved treatment of its workers, while failing to mention Friday’s letter.
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Fifteen US senators including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris tore into Amazon on Friday in a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos, describing the company’s record on worker safety as „dismal.“
In the letter, the senators expressed „serious concern“ about the safety of Amazon’s employees, citing numerous recent reports of worker mistreatment.
Among other changes, they urged Bezos to reduce worker quotas and speed requirements and to introduce immediate physician referrals for unwell workers whose symptoms aren’t improving.
They also asked that bathroom breaks no longer be treated as „time off task.“
At the turn of the decade, Amazon’s reputation for employee maltreatment could hardly be greater. The senators‘ letter draws on a wealth of investigative reporting, notably from The Atlantic, that has painted a grim picture of life at the average Amazon warehouse.
Amazon’s public-relations chief, Jay Carney, pushed back on the narrative Monday with an op-ed article published in The New York Times called „Why Bernie Sanders praised Amazon.“
In the piece, Carney said Sanders called him and praised Amazon’s recent increase of its minimum wage to $15. On Monday evening, he went on to spar with journalists on Twitter after some took issue with the way his piece failed to mention contextual details about Sanders.
Also funny how @JayCarney brags about the company’s mandatory $15 an hour across the board minimum wage, yet we found numerous Amazon delivery contractors advertising jobs that paid less than that. pic.twitter.com/30kLAI1yux
— Ken Bensinger (@kenbensinger) February 10, 2020
Ken Bensinger of BuzzFeed News tweeted that Carney’s article didn’t mention the pressure campaign Sanders waged to get Amazon to raise its minimum wage in the first place and said it was „funny“ that Carney’s piece also failed to mention Friday’s letter.
Carney replied: „Would be ‚funny‘, I guess, if Bernie hadn’t called to congratulate us for raising wages 15 months ago. And if I hadn’t submitted the Op-Ed to the Times 10 days ago.“
Bensinger responded by linking to another letter, signed five months ago by three US senators, including Warren but not Sanders, which expressed concern about „dangerous conditions“ Amazon imposed on delivery companies and drivers who delivered its packages.
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