Published: Sun, September 09, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

Bill Aims to Get Walmart, Amazon to Pay Employees More

Bill Aims to Get Walmart, Amazon to Pay Employees More

Sanders, who over the past few months has criticized the gulf in wealth between the online retailer's CEO Jeff Bezos and its warehouse workers, took to Twitter to speak out against Amazon crossing the threshold. Anecdotes shared by current and former Amazon employees corroborate these findings.

Citing a study from the University of California Berkeley Labor Center, Sanders said Americans pay $150 billion a year in taxes for employees with low wages who rely on government assistance programs to help make ends meet.

"Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is the wealthiest person on Earth", Sanders said Wednesday. The bill is created to force large employers to pay back, in the form of a new tax, federal assistance their workers receive.

"In addition, the legislation would likely lead to substantial corporate lobbying efforts to restrict eligibility and cut benefit levels for core low-income assistance programs, because doing so would reduce companies' tax bills - effectively making a cut in Medicaid, SNAP, school meals, or rental subsidies akin to a direct corporate tax cut", Greenstein wrote. "Pay workers a living wage or pay for the public assistance programs their low-wage employees are forced to depend upon".

In addition, Amazon workers' median annual salary previous year was $28,446, but this figure includes both full and part-time employees.

The bill follows similar legislation introduced in Congress last summer by Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif.

After several weeks of assaults on Amazon, Walmart, and other prominent employers, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) stepped up his game today.

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The company highlighted that its average hourly wage for a full-time fulfillment center employee is more than $15 an hour, including cash, stock and incentive bonuses, but before overtime.

Amazon isn't the only company with more than 500 employees that Sanders singled out for criticism.

One concern from Bernstein is that it "joins the right in vilifying benefit receipt". She and her three children also lived with her parents while she was working at Amazon because, as she told Sanders' office, "I could not afford to find a safe location for my family".

For example, if an employee receives $1,000 in federal assistance, the employer will be charged that amount as a tax.

Amazon, which has more than 575,000 workers, is the country's second-largest private employer, behind Walmart.

"They could face "statistical discrimination" at work and if therefore it's harder for them to find a job, they risk not meeting a work requirement and losing the benefit that they very much need", he said.

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