Throughout the summer of 2018, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders criticized Amazon's wages and working conditions in a series of YouTube videos and media appearances. He also pointed to the fact that Amazon had paid no federal income tax in the previous year. Sanders solicited stories from Amazon warehouse workers who felt exploited by the company. One such story, by James Bloodworth, described the environment as akin to "a low-security prison" and stated that the company's culture used an Orwellian newspeak. These reports cited a finding by New Food Economy that one third of fulfilment center workers in Arizona were on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Responses by Amazon included incentives for employees to tweet positive stories and a statement which called the salary figures used by Sanders "inaccurate and misleading". The statement also charged that it was inappropriate for him to refer to SNAP as "food stamps". On September 5, 2018, Sanders along with Ro Khanna introduced the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies (Stop BEZOS) Act aimed at Amazon and other alleged beneficiaries of corporate welfare such as Wal-mart, McDonald's and Uber. Among the bill's supporters were Tucker Carlson of Fox News and Matt Taibbi who criticized himself and other journalists for not covering Amazon's contribution to wealth inequality earlier.
“The managers are constantly telling us that we are the number one warehouse in the country, that we are the fastest, and they are always pressuring us to do more,” says Ibrahin. “They think we are robots, not humans.” She says that Amazon’s packing quota has workers spending their days in fear of “wasting time” on things like buying a bottle of water from a vending machine on a different floor, or driving to a restaurant to pick up a meal. “All we think about is, this 5 or 10 minutes will eat into my break time, and then that will make my rate slow down, and then I will get punished,” she says.
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The work environment here is fast-paced and continually evolving, and every Amazonian is passionate about ownership and delivering results for the company. If you want to work in an environment that will challenge you to relentlessly improve the Amazon experience for our customers, where each day is different from the next, and your learning never truly ends, take a look at Amazon’s many opportunities.