Bezos under fire for comments about Amazon workers, customers funding his space flight

After Amazon founder Jeff Bezos returned from his 11-minute space flight on his company Blue Origin’s rocket yesterday (July 20th), the world’s richest man thanked Amazon’s employees and customers -- and that didn’t sit well with some people.

Bezos, who stepped down as Amazon’s CEO in July, said at a news conference, “I want to thank every Amazon employee, and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all this.”

There have been growing complaints about how Amazon treats and compensates its employees, including opposition to unionization. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich reflected that criticism yesterday, tweeting, “Amazon workers don’t need Bezos to thank them.

They need him to stop union-busting -- and pay them what they deserve.” Similarly, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “Yes, Amazon workers did pay for this - with lower wages, union-busting, a frenzied and inhumane workplace, and delivery drivers not having health insurance during a pandemic. And Amazon customers are paying for it with Amazon abusing their market power to hurt small business.”

Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren zeroed in on a ProPublica report that said Bezos paid no income tax in 2007 and 2011.

She tweeted, “Jeff Bezos forgot to thank all the hardworking Americans who actually paid taxes to keep this country running while he and Amazon paid nothing.” After his trip to space yesterday, Bezos gave $100 million donations to both Washington, D.C., chef Jose Andres, whose nonprofit World Central Kitchen provides meals to people after natural disasters, and CNN contributor Van Jones, who has founded a number of nonprofit organizations. The money is for them to put towards any charity or nonprofit of their choice.

Joe Kelley

News Director; Host of Orlando's Morning News

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