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  THE LOW INCOME & URBAN HOUSING BLOG  

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hundreds of Amazon.com Employees Are Reportedly on Food Stamps

Amazon Workers

As Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos became the richest person in the world with a net worth of over $100 billion in 2017, his company has some employees that apparently need food assistance just to make ends meet.

A report from Policy Matters Ohio, a non-profit research organization that focuses on issues that affect those on low-income, discovered that as of August 2017, around 1,430 of Amazon's employees or family members in Ohio are relying on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the modern-day food stamps.

Amazon is one of the largest employers in Ohio with over 6,000 employees. In the month of August alone, it was found out that 700 Amazon Ohio local workers -- about 10% of its workforce in the state -- were beneficiaries of SNAP. It also means that the company who wasn't even in the top 50 of employers with workers on SNAP before is now ranked at 19th.

"The sudden emergence of Amazon as an employer of so many who need that assistance raises a question: Why is this giant, successful company offering such limited pay and hours of work that many of its workers need help buying food?" Zach Schiller, Policy Matters research director, said in a release on January 5.

Though the report includes both full-time and part-time workers, Policy Matters figures that the numbers most likely came from part-time workers -- specifically from the two warehouses in Cleveland.

Other large employers in Ohio such as Walmart, Kroger, Target, Home Depot, and the Cleveland Clinic also had workers on SNAP. It shows the troubling fact that most people receiving food assistance are actually already working. And that should most especially not be the case for a company with warehouses built using local subsidies and other publicly funded incentives, in which Amazon is.

A company with a workforce still needing government assistance such as food stamps are considered to be straining the public resources.

"The state and local tax incentives Amazon receives doesn't include the tens of thousands of dollars its Ohio workers need each month in food benefits," Schiller said. "When you consider that, the subsidies are even larger."

In a statement, Ashley Robinson, an Amazon spokesperson responded, "Amazon full-time hourly employees in Ohio earn between $14.50 and $15 an hour as a starting wage with regular pay increases plus Amazon stock and performance based bonuses. We also provide comprehensive benefits which include health, vision, and dental insurance coverage starting on day one, generous maternity and family leave, tuition for career education, and a network of support to succeed."


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