Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will not testify at a Senate Budget Committee hearing on income inequality next week — a decision that comes hours after Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) invited the billionaire to share his thoughts on the matter, reports CNBC.
Sanders originally said he wanted Bezos “to explain to the American people why he thinks it’s appropriate for him to spend a whole lot of money denying economic dignity to workers at Amazon, while he has become $78 billion richer during the pandemic.”
In a followup tweet, Sanders turned the discussion to a high-profile unionization effort now going on at an Amazon fulfillment center in Alabama.
It’s unfortunate Mr. Bezos won’t join our hearing. While he’s become $78 billion richer during the pandemic, families are struggling to survive, so why is he spending a whole lot of money to stop workers from organizing a union at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama? https://t.co/haeBDYHxaz
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 12, 2021
The hearing — slated for March 17 —will include testimony by Amazon fulfillment center worker Jennifer Bates, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and others.
Amazon is taking it on the chin from both sides of the aisle today. Earlier, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) lambasted Amazon in an opinion piece in USA Today, writing that he supported the Amazon workers and that “woke CEOs” like Bezos view workers as a “cog in a machine.”
The tensions are rising against Amazon and other tech giants, as well as the massive fortunes of entrepreneurs who’ve seen their wealth soar during the pandemic. A number of wealth taxes are being considered on the state and federal level, including one in Washington state that would place a 1% tax on intangible financial assets held by billionaires.
According to Forbes, Bezos is currently the richest person on the planet with a net worth estimated at $181 billion.