- Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren criticized Amazon’s anti-union tactics Thursday night.
- Warren also said Amazon exploited tax loopholes and “interrupted” senators with “snotty tweets.”
- “You make the tax laws @SenWarren; we just follow them,” Amazon tweeted.
- See more stories on the Insider business page.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren took on Amazon on Twitter Thursday night, calling out the tech giant for exploiting “loopholes and tax havens,” opposing unionization and “booing” senators on Twitter.
Tensions between Amazon and some Democratic lawmakers, including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, are escalating just as workers at Amazon’s warehouses in Bessemer, Alabama, vote on the possibility of unionizing. It would be the first Amazon union in the United States.
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Warren had uploaded a video to Twitter from a Senate Finance Committee hearing Thursday in which he discussed how companies were “manipulating the tax code to avoid paying their fair share.”
During the hearing, Kimberly Clausing, the Treasury’s deputy undersecretary for tax analysis, said that Amazon paid a tax rate of 4.5% between 2018 and 2020, even though the corporate tax rate is 21%.
Warren said Amazon accomplished this through “loopholes and tax shelters.”
—Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) March 25, 2021
After he posted the video on Twitter, saying that companies like Amazon “pay next to nothing in taxes,” the tech giant was quick to respond.
“You make the tax laws @SenWarren; we just follow them, “he tweeted from his official news account.
“If you don’t like the laws you have created, by all means change them,” he added.
Amazon said it had paid “billions of dollars” in corporate taxes in recent years alone.
Warren responded by saying, “I didn’t write the loopholes you exploit, @Amazon – His armies of lawyers and lobbyists did.
“But you can bet I will fight for you to pay your fair share,” he added. “And fight your union crackdown. And fight to break Big Tech so it’s not powerful enough to interrupt senators with cocky tweets.
—Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) March 26, 2021
In early March, Warren proposed an annual “ultra millionaire” tax on people with a net worth of more than $ 50 million. Under Warren’s proposals, outgoing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos would have paid an estimated $ 5.7 billion tax in 2020.
During Thursday’s hearing, he also said he planned to introduce a tax on accounting profits for the most profitable companies in the country.
Amazon has clashed with lawmakers over their anti-union tactics
Amazon has been criticized for aggressively opposing workers’ efforts to form what would be the company’s first union in the United States. He has placed anti-union ads on Twitch, has been reported to have posted anti-union messages on warehouse bathroom stalls, and lobbied the National Labor Relations Board to demand votes in person.
Warren is not the first legislator Amazon has faced this week.
On Wednesday, the company asked Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan on Twitter if he believed its workers urinate in bottles after he criticized Amazon’s claim that it is a “progressive workplace.”
The company also scorned Senator Bernie Sanders, an outspoken critic of Amazon’s anti-union push, ahead of his visit to meet with Alabama warehouse workers who voted on organizing.
“If you want to hear about $ 15 an hour and medical attention, Senator Sanders will speak downtown,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s chief consumer.
“But if you want to make at least $ 15 an hour and have good health care, Amazon is hiring.”