Amazon challenges companies to raise wages, Walmart fires back with even better idea

(Image: Wikimedia)

Walmart trolled Amazon with a taunting response after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos issued a challenge to his “top retail competitors.”

Bezos cited his company’s newly implemented minimum wage of $15 as he threw down the gauntlet in his annual letter to shareholders, which was issued Thursday, according to NBC News.

“Today I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our $15 minimum wage,” Bezos said.

“Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us. It’s a kind of competition that will benefit everyone,” he dared.

Walmart did throw something back, but it wasn’t exactly what Bezos had in mind.

“Hey retail competitors out there (you know who you are) how about paying your taxes?” Dan Bartlett, Walmart’s Executive VP of Corporate Affairs, tweeted Thursday with a winking face emoji.

Bartlett linked to a February report in Yahoo Finance which detailed how “Amazon will pay $0 in taxes on $11,200,000,000 in profit for 2018.”

“Thanks to the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), Amazon’s federal tax responsibility is 21% (down from 35% in previous years). But with the help of tax breaks, according to corporate filings, Amazon won’t be paying a dime to Uncle Sam despite posting more than $11.2 billion in profits in 2018,” the Yahoo Finance article stated.

The company made $5.6 billion in U.S. profits in 2017 but still managed to pay $0 in taxes.

(File Photo: screenshot)

Amazon hiked its minimum wage to $15 in November while Walmart has not changed its wage of $11 an hour, set in January 2018.

Bartlett threw some more shade at Amazon in another tweet noting “the vast majority of our warehouse associates have been making more than $15 for a long time. And they still get quarterly performance bonuses.”

The dig by the Walmart executive referred to Amazon’s decision to cut the bonuses for warehouse workers once the pay increase went into effect.

House Democrats moved last month to advance a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, with a “Fight for $15” rallying cry even as critics noted the very serious consequences of the the hikes on American neighborhoods.

“We find robust evidence that minimum wage hikes increase property crime arrests among teenagers and young adults ages 16-to-24, a population for whom minimum wages are likely to bind,” the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded in a study published this month.

The increases across the country have left businesses dealing with the negative effects by cutting employee hours, eliminating jobs or completely closing down. California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York and the District of Columbia have all approved a $15 minimum wage.


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Frieda Powers


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