September 27, 2021

Bezos blasted for thanking Amazon workers, customers for funding Blue Origin spaceflight

VAN HORN, Texas — The world’s richest man wished to say because of the individuals who made his transient journey into house Tuesday doable.

However for some, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ expression of gratitude went over like a lead rocket.

“I want to thank every Amazon employee, and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all this,” the 57-year-old Bezos mentioned throughout a information convention Tuesday after changing into the second billionaire in simply over per week to journey in his personal spacecraft.

Bezos constructed Amazon right into a purchasing and leisure behemoth however has confronted growing activism inside his personal workforce and stepped up strain from critics to enhance working circumstances.

Labor teams and Amazon staff have claimed that the corporate provides its hourly staff not sufficient break instances, places an excessive amount of reliance on inflexible productiveness metrics and has unsafe working circumstances. An effort to unionize staff at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama failed earlier this 12 months.

Robert Reich, former secretary of labor beneath President Invoice Clinton and a professor of public coverage at College of California, Berkeley, wrote on Twitter that Bezos has crushed unionizing makes an attempt for a long time.

“Amazon workers don’t need Bezos to thank them. They need him to stop union busting – and pay them what they deserve,” Reich wrote.

Bezos stepped down as Amazon CEO in July, permitting him extra time for aspect tasks together with his house exploration firm Blue Origin. He has mentioned he funds the rocket firm by promoting $1 billion in Amazon inventory every year.

After the spaceflight, Bezos awarded $100 million donations by way of a brand new philanthropic initiative to each D.C. chef Jose Andres and CNN contributor Van Jones to place in direction of any charity or nonprofit of their alternative. Jones has based quite a lot of nonprofit organizations and Andres’ nonprofit group World Central Kitchen gives meals to individuals following pure disasters.

Nonetheless, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who’s on the tax-writing Methods and Means Committee, proposed on Tuesday laws that may tax house journey for non-scientific analysis functions.

“Space exploration isn’t a tax-free holiday for the wealthy,” mentioned Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat. “Just as normal Americans pay taxes when they buy airline tickets, billionaires who fly into space to produce nothing of scientific value should do the same, and then some.”

Others tied his spaceflight to studies that Bezos hasn’t paid his fair proportion of taxes. In line with the nonprofit investigative journalism group ProPublica, Bezos paid no earnings tax in 2007 and 2011.

“Jeff Bezos forgot to thank all the hardworking Americans who actually paid taxes to keep this country running while he and Amazon paid nothing,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., tweeted.

Allen Adamson, co-founder of selling consultancy Metaforce, says it is difficult for Bezos to say the place the cash from the house journey is coming from with out being offensive. He says he ought to have omitted these feedback and targeted on thanking the Blue Origin crew.

“For people who have an issue with inequality and his compensation versus the average employee compensation, this was rocket fuel,” Adamson mentioned.

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