Senator Bernie Sanders plans to make the corporations pay their employees a living wage
Senator Bernie Sanders intends to bring out legislation that would make large employers of US like McDonald’s, Walmart and Amazon provide living wages to their employees. They will have to ensure that the pay will cover the cost of the food stamps, the federal assistance the employees get, Medicaid and their public housing charges. Through this measure, Sanders intends to stop the flow of nearly $150 billion of tax money that the government spends to provide federal assistance to low wage earners every year.
The bill is expected to be introduced on the fifth of September at the Senate. It will propose a 100 % tax on the companies for the government benefits enjoyed by its employees. This would be applicable to those companies with a workforce of 500 or beyond. It would mean that if an employee at Amazon were to receive $350 in food stamps, then the company will be taxed $350.
The Senator observed that the gap between the rich and the poor continued to grow wider as there are high levels of income inequality and generation of wealth in some quarters.
Labor groups pointed out that the income divide is most evident in the case of the most profitable and largest companies of US like Amazon and Walmart. Amazon has a workforce of more than half a million, and Walmart has more than two million employees on its payroll at the US.
The New Food Economy, a news organization which is non-profit ,got public records that prove that a large number of employees at Amazon have to rely on Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program of the government to meet their basic expenditure. The figures can be alarmingly high as in the case of Arizona where one-third of Amazon employees get food stamps. This is found to be marginally better where 10 percent of the company’s employees get food stamps at Ohio and Pennsylvania. These figures are derived from the report published in April by this news organization.
A spokeswoman for Amazon, Melanie Etches defended the company by saying that these figures were exaggerated as they included part-time workers as well as those who worked for a short period of time at Amazon. She elaborated by saying that there were a lot of full-time jobs at Amazon whereas some employee chooses to work part-time for personal reasons or to have a flexible schedule.
Senator Bernie Sanders had on Tuesday submitted a petition to Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, who is the richest man in the world, with a net worth of $157 billion. He was requested to improve the working conditions at the company’s warehouses. The petition also contained a plea to provide the employees with living wages to enable them in order to meet their basic needs. This petition has gathered more than a hundred thousand signatures within three days. Bezos also has ownership of The Washington Post.
The bill will be an extension of the aforementioned petition. Sanders has also drawn attention to Walmart as well as other similar profitable companies owned by billionaires.