Nicole Petallides on Amazon hitting $1 trillion in market value.
Bernie Sanders unveiled legislation on Wednesday targeting pay and
working conditions at big companies like Amazon, after the pair traded
jabs in blog posts last week.
the “Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies” Act, or Stop BEZOS
Act, the bill would impose a 100 percent welfare tax on large
employers equal to the amount that their workers receive in public
assistance benefits, in an effort to encourage companies to raise
Stop Bezos Act gives large employers a choice: pay workers a living
wage or pay for the public assistance programs low wage workers are
forced to rely upon,” the text of the legislation reads.
independent Vermont senator cited research from the University of
California, Berkeley Labor Center, which found low wages end up
costing taxpayers $152.8 billion per year to fund federal assistance
the purpose of the bill, large employers are defined as those with
more than 500 workers – including independent contractors and
a speech over
the weekend, Sanders called out Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for the
company’s pay practices, despite the businessman’s vast fortune.
have one person whose wealth is increasing by $250 million every
single day, while he pays thousands of his workers’ wages that are so
low that they are forced to go on food stamps, Medicaid, and
subsidized housing,” Sanders said, referring to Bezos.
senator has said the company’s median pay is 9 percent less than the
industry average at $28,446, and “well below” a livable wage.
Amazon, in a rare political post, wrote a blog post in response to
Sanders’ barbs last week, calling comments the senator made
“inaccurate and misleading.”
e-commerce giant refuted Sanders’ claims that it doesn’t pay
lower-level employees a livable wage and therefore workers have to
rely on government assistance programs, like the Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), at the expense of other
taxpayers. The company added that Sanders’ references to SNAP are
misleading because they include part-time employees and those who only
worked for the company for a short period of time – saying that these
groups would “almost certainly qualify for SNAP.”
reports, citing the New Food Economy, show that as many as one-third
of Amazon’s employees in Arizona receive food stamps, as do one-in-10
in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
addition to the public spat between Sanders and Amazon, the senator
names other large U.S. corporations, including McDonalds, Walmart and
American Airlines, as targets of his bill.