From The New Republic:
As Amazon builds up its distribution network, it’s hit on a trick long practiced by the likes of Walmart: using the federal government to help pay its workers. A new study by Policy Matters Ohio found that more than 700 Amazon employees receive food stamps, or more than 10 percent of the tech giant’s 6,000-strong workforce in the state. Some of those recipients may be part-time help, but the fact that they need federal aid to survive suggests that they would be happy to work more. “Why is this giant, successful company offering such limited pay and hours of work that many of its workers need help buying food?” asked Zach Schiller, research director at Policy Matters.
Amazon ranks nineteenth among Ohio businesses in number of employees on food stamps, behind Walmart, McDonald’s, and Kroger. But Amazon is only the fifty-third-largest employer in Ohio, suggesting a higher rate of employees on food stamps than its counterparts. More important, Amazon has obtained at least $123 million in state tax incentives to place warehouse and data center locations in Ohio. This reflects a perverse form of double-dipping: Amazon gets a bounty to create jobs in Ohio, and then a good chunk of the jobs are so low-paying that workers have to seek federal assistance, providing a second subsidy for the e-commerce giant.
. . . .
In 2012, the company hired Michael Grella, a specialist in economic development tax credits. The company created an entire team just to seek out these subsidies, in a continuation of its strategy to work the tax code to its advantage—first by not collecting sales tax and offering an effective discount on every product, and more recently to lower the cost of building new shipping facilities.
If a city or state shells out millions of dollars to attract Amazon, the least it can do is ensure that the resulting jobs lift people out of poverty.
. . . .
Most of these deals go through a privatized economic development agency called JobsOhio, which doesn’t require as much transparency as a public agency about what taxpayers are getting for their money. JobsOhio continues to defend the Amazon deals as good for the state, claiming that full-time warehouse workers receive 30 percent higher compensation than the national retail worker average.
Link to the rest at The New Republic
PG did a quick check on Policy Matters Ohio, the source of most (maybe all) of the statistics in the OP.
Policy Matters Ohio is a non-profit organization which means it doesn’t pay state or federal taxes like Amazon does.
Policy Matters Ohio’s board of directors is packed with labor union officials (labor unions also typically don’t pay state or federal taxes) and lots of people who work for other nonprofit community action organizations, including colleges. In the larger scheme of things, this second group of organizations, which undoubtedly includes Policy Matters Ohio, also doesn’t pay state or federal taxes and is competing with Amazon for scarce government funding in Ohio.
Policy Matters Ohio has unpaid internship opportunities in its office on a year-round basis. PG couldn’t discover whether the government was providing food stamps or other benefits to any of its unpaid interns or employees.
Unions hate Amazon because the majority of Amazon workers are satisfied with their working conditions and salaries and vote against union representation when a union tries to organize them.
When PG was in college, one of his summer jobs involved working in a soft drink bottling factory (non-air conditioned), lugging cases of bottled pop around, so he understands a little about warehouse work.
He’s glad he doesn’t have to do that kind of work now, but he was very happy to have the job then, just like he was happy to have the many other jobs involving heavy manual labor he held during high school and college.
Given the number of people who apply for a job when a new Amazon warehouse opens and how hard it is to get hired by an existing Amazon warehouse, PG suspects most of the people who work for Amazon are happy to be employed there.
And again, Amazon pays a lot of taxes, unlike the majority of organizations that criticize Amazon.