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Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, has been invited by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders to appear before his panel for a hearing on income and wealth inequality.

Bezos has a net worth of $182.7 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, while many of Amazon’s workers earn so little they receive government subsidies for food and health care, putting the online giant in the company of other big employers like Walmart Inc. and McDonald’s Corp.

Amazon didn’t immediately reply to questions about Sanders’s invitation for Bezos to appear before Congress.

Sanders plans the hearing for March 17. He also invited an Amazon worker at an Alabama fulfillment center where some employees are trying to form a union.

The right of Amazon workers to unionize is getting some Republican support as well. Florida Senator Marco Rubio said in a USA Today opinion column that Amazon has “waged a war against working-class values."

“Uniquely malicious corporate behavior like Amazon’s justifies a more adversarial approach to labor relations," Rubio said. “It is no fault of Amazon’s workers if they feel the only option available to protect themselves against bad faith is to form a union."

Rubio criticized the Seattle-based company for crushing small businesses and competition and for inadequate working conditions during a year of record profits amid pandemic-related shutdowns. He also took issue with what he described as the company’s left-leaning values imposed on workers and retailers.

Stuart Appelbaum, head of the retail worker union behind organizing efforts at the Amazon fulfillment center in Alabama, welcomed Rubio’s support and said the fight to support working people “should not be a partisan issue."

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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