President Barack Obama will visit an Amazon.com fulfillment center in Tennessee next week to talk about the country’s economy, manufacturing and high-wage jobs.
Obama’s choice of Amazon is interesting on a couple accounts. For one, Amazon has taken several hits over the past few years as it relates to its treatment of warehouse workers, with some workers in Pennsylvania being taken out in wheelchairs and stretchers after suffering from heat stress two summers ago.
In addition, Amazon — as well as Obama — supports the Marketplace Fairness Act, which could make it easier for states to collect sales tax from purchases made online, whether the online retailer has a physical retail presence in the state or not.
The measure, which passed the Senate in May and is now under consideration in the House, is expected to pave the way to a more cohesive sales tax collection process, rather than what some view as a mishmash system that now varies by state.
Amazon made a deal with Tennessee two years ago to build two distribution centers at a cost of $350 million that would employ 3,500 full-time workers in the state. In exchange, Amazon would not start collecting sales tax in the state in 2014.
There’s already one protest in the works when Obama arrives in Chattanooga on Tuesday, as the Tennessee Campaign for Liberty will be protesting Obama for his support of the Marketplace Fairness Tax. It certainly isn’t the first time protestors have targeted the Seattle online retail giant.
Previously on GeekWire: Why Amazon and other retailers are supporting this national sales tax legislation