Bernie Sanders rips into Jeff Bezos: ‘You are value $182 billion … why are you doing all the pieces in your energy to cease your employees’ from unionizing?

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  • Bezos declined Sanders’ invitation to testify at a listening to, however the senator had harsh phrases for him.

  • Sanders criticized Amazon’s countering of a union drive in Alabama regardless of the CEO’s report wealth.

  • The listening to included testimony from a pro-union employee at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse.

  • See extra tales on Insider’s enterprise web page.

At a listening to on Wednesday morning, Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke critically about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who declined Sanders’ invitation to testify, and Elon Musk, the 2 wealthiest males.

“Bezos and Musk now own more wealth than the bottom 40%. Meanwhile, we’re looking at more hunger in America than at any time in decades,” Sanders stated in his opening remarks on the Senate Budget Committee listening to, which was titled The Income and Wealth Inequality Crisis in America.

Video: 9 issues to learn about Amazon

“If he was with us this morning, I would ask him the following question … Mr. Bezos, you are worth $182 billion – that’s a B,” Sanders stated. “One hundred eighty-two billion dollars, you’re the wealthiest person in the world. Why are you doing everything in your power to stop your workers in Bessemer, Alabama, from joining a union?”

The unionization push being voted on at Amazon’s Bessemer success middle has been the focus of a high-profile labor dispute between the behemoth “everything store” and the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union. Amazon has aggressively pushed its employees to vote towards unionization, launching a marketing campaign known as “Do It Without Dues” to encourage employees to stay to the established order.

Sanders identified the disparity between Bezos’ wealth development throughout the pandemic and the struggles of rank-and-file employees.

“Jeff Bezos has become $77 billion richer during this horrific pandemic, while denying hundreds of thousands of workers who work at Amazon paid sick leave,” he stated.

Jennifer Bates, an worker on the Bessemer warehouse who testified at Wednesday’s listening to, stated the unionization efforts had been an try and “have a level playing field.” Bates cited powerful working situations, lengthy hours, and a scarcity of job safety as main drivers of the unionization efforts.

“Amazon brags it pays workers above the minimum wage,” she stated. “What they don’t tell you is what those jobs are really like. And they certainly don’t tell you what they can afford.”

When requested what having a union would imply to her and her coworkers, Bates stated it could end result of their voices being “amplified” and a “sense of empowerment, “and never simply on the Amazon in Bessemer however everywhere in the nation.”

“We take worker suggestions severely, together with Ms. Bates’s, however we do not consider her feedback characterize the greater than 90% of her success middle colleagues who say they’d advocate Amazon as an excellent place to work to family and friends,” an Amazon spokesperson told Insider. “We encourage folks to talk with the a whole bunch of hundreds of Amazon staff who love their jobs, earn at the very least $15 an hour, obtain complete healthcare and paid go away advantages, want direct dialogue with their managers, and voted Amazon #2 on the Forbes finest employers listing in 2020.”

While much of the hearing was devoted to the Amazon unionization fight, which will be decided at the end of March, Sanders said “Amazon and Jeff Bezos should not alone” and decried the “company greed” that drives income inequality.

Others who testified at the hearing included former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who said unions were important and cited the steep decline in union membership since the labor heyday of the mid-1900s.

Sanders has been a vocal critic of Amazon, while President Joe Biden has taken a softer approach in referencing the union drive. In a statement earlier in March, Biden condemned “anti-union propaganda” from giant corporations however stopped wanting naming Amazon.

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