Obama under fire over Amazon visit

Obama under fire over Amazon visit

The American Booksellers Association has criticised President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to an Amazon warehouse in Tennessee later today (30th July) to talk about middle class job creation as “woefully misguided".

The ABA’s c.e.o. Oren Teicher has written to President Obama explaining that Amazon is “harming small businesses and the American economy", and has “flouted sales tax laws” and “negatively impacted state budgets and services, as well as those of local communities” in the US, according to Publishers Weekly.

President Obama is due to visit the warehouse in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as part of his “A Better Bargain For The Middle Class” tour later today. To coincide with the visit, Amazon has announced it is hiring 5,000 employees in 17 fulfillment centres in the US and another 2,000 full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers in four customer service centres.

The New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA) and the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) have also added their criticism of the President’s Amazon warehouse visit.

The NEIBA said: “What is the thinking behind this decision? . . . [Amazon's] business model is based on fighting those states that have required them to collect and remit sales tax while driving Main Street brick and mortar stores out of business through predatory pricing.”

While the NAIBA said: “We cannot believe this is your vision of job creation and the future of American middle class. We would hope your administration would be standing with Main Street, and investigating the monopolistic practices of Amazon, rather than explicitly or tacitly endorsing those practices.”

Last Friday (26th July), Amy Brundage, deputy press secretary at the White House, told Tennessee media outlets that "the Amazon facility in Chattanooga is a perfect example of the company that is investing in American workers and creating good, high-wage jobs. What the president wants to do is to highlight Amazon and the Chattanooga facility as an example of a company that is spurring job growth and keeping our country competitive."

The move is said to have antagonised professionals in the industry following the recent decision from the Department of Justice in the US to rule against Apple in the e-book price-fixing case.