- Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren slammed Amazon’s anti-union tactics on Thursday night.
- Warren also said Amazon exploited tax loopholes and “heckled” senators with “snotty tweets.”
- “You make the tax laws @SenWarren; we just follow them,” Amazon tweeted.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren clashed with Amazon on Twitter on Thursday night, calling the tech giant out for exploiting “loopholes and tax havens,” opposing unionization, and “heckling” senators on Twitter.
Tensions between Amazon and some Democratic lawmakers, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, are running high just as Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, vote on whether to unionize. It would be the first Amazon union in the US.
Warren had uploaded a video to Twitter from a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Thursday in which she discussed how companies were “manipulating the tax code to avoid paying their fair share.”
During the hearing, Kimberly Clausing, the Treasury’s deputy assistant secretary of tax analysis, said that Amazon paid a tax rate of 4.5% between 2018 and 2020, despite the corporate-tax rate standing at 21%.
Warren said Amazon achieved this through “loopholes and tax shelters.”
-Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) March 25, 2021
After she posted the video on Twitter, saying that companies like Amazon “pay close to nothing in taxes,” the tech giant quickly fired back.
“You make the tax laws @SenWarren; we just follow them,” it tweeted from its official news account.
“If you don’t like the laws you’ve created, by all means, change them,” it added.
Amazon said that it had paid “billions of dollars” in corporate taxes over the past few years alone.
Warren hit back, saying: “I didn’t write the loopholes you exploit, @amazon – your armies of lawyers and lobbyists did.
“But you bet I’ll fight to make you pay your fair share,” she added. “And fight your union-busting. And fight to break up Big Tech so you’re not powerful enough to heckle senators with snotty tweets.”
-Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) March 26, 2021
In early March, Warren proposed an annual “ultra-millionaire” tax on individuals with net worths of more than $US50 ($66) million. Under Warren’s proposals, departing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos would have paid an estimated $US5.7 ($7) billion tax in 2020.
During Thursday’s hearing, she also said she planned to introduce a tax on book profits for the nation’s most profitable companies.
Amazon has clashed with lawmakers over its anti-union tactics
Amazon has come under fire for aggressively opposing workers’ efforts to form what would be the company’s first union in the US. It has placed anti-union ads on Twitch, reportedly posted anti-union messages in warehouse-bathroom stalls, and pushed the National Labor Relations Board to require in-person votes.
Warren isn’t the first lawmaker whom Amazon has clashed with this week.
On Wednesday, the company asked Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan on Twitter whether he believed its workers urinate in bottles after he criticized Amazon’s claim that it’s a “progressive workplace.”
“If you want to hear about $US15 ($20) an hour and health care, Senator Sanders will be speaking downtown,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s consumer chief, said.
“But if you would like to make at least $US15 ($20) an hour and have good health care, Amazon is hiring.”
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