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Amazon says Ocasio-Cortez is 'just wrong' about warehouse wages

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is concerned that Amazon employees are being paid "starvation wages."

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Amazon says it supports raising the federal minimum wage.

Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Amazon on Monday said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's comment that the company pays warehouse workers "starvation wages" is just wrong.

"Amazon is a leader on pay at $15 min wage + full benefits from day one," the company said in a tweet Monday, accompanying a clip of Ocasio-Cortez on ABC's This Week. "We also lobby to raise federal min wage."

The company was responding to comments Ocasio-Cortez made Sunday during an interview on ABC's This Week. When asked about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Ocasio-Cortez said she spends more time thinking about Amazon warehouse workers than Bezos. She said her concern is whether Bezos' wealth is "predicated on paying people starvation wages and stripping them of their ability to access healthcare."

Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for additional comment. Ocasio-Cortez's office couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Amazon has been accused before of creating grueling conditions at it fulfillment centers. Community activists and unions trying to organize warehouse employees have long raised concerns that the company was pushing employees to work tough jobs and closely monitoring their productivity. Last year, Amazon raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour in response to mounting pressure over its wages and its treatment of warehouse workers.

The exchange with Ocasio-Cortez comes just days after Amazon found itself defending against a tweet from Joe Biden, who said the company doesn't pay a fair amount in taxes. The former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate said June 13 that he has "nothing against Amazon, but no company pulling in billions of dollars of profits should pay a lower tax rate than firefighters and teachers." Amazon responded in a tweet, saying it pays every penny it owes.

Originally published June 17, 9:30 a.m. PT.
Update, 9:49 a.m. PT: Adds more background on Amazon wages.