Bernie Sanders introduces 'Stop BEZOS Act' in the Senate

Bernie Sanders Takes Aim at Amazon Wages, Working Conditions With Stop BEZOS Act

The Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies, or Stop BEZOS, Act is a pointed attack on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and demands that large companies that employ at least 500,000 people foot the bill for food stamps, public housing, Medicaid and other federal assistance received by their workers. Anecdotes shared by current and former Amazon employees corroborate these findings.

Bernie says, "Bezos is paying his employees so low that these workers are depending on food stamps, subsidized housing and Medicaid to survive".

In addition to the public spat between Sanders and Amazon, the senator names other large USA corporations, including McDonalds, Walmart and American Airlines, as targets of his bill. If, for example, an employee receives $200 in food assistance, Amazon would be taxed $200 to cover those costs.

"If employers in this country simply paid workers a living wage, taxpayers would save about $150 billion a year on federal assistance programs, and millions of workers would live in dignity and security", Sanders explained at a press conference unveiling the Stop Bezos Act on Wednesday. The median U.S. salary for full-time Amazon employees is $34,123, it says. Rep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, introduced a House version of the same bill named the Corporate Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act.

Amazon says Sanders' claim that its employees endure poor working conditions is "inaccurate and misleading", and says the company has reached out to Sanders to try and get him to tour one of its fulfillment centers.

Amazon, aware of the Vermont senator's plans to launch such a bill, pre-empted the announcement in an August blog post. In video interviews posted on Sanders' Facebook page, workers at several levels of Amazon described highly surveilled work environments, where bathroom breaks are closely monitored and there's extreme pressure to meet goals that may be unattainable.

"If you're an employer with a job applicant who you fear is going to draw public benefits, whether you're right or wrong, you may try and avoid hiring that person", Bernstein said. His complaint that Walmart and Amazon do not provide proper wages to their employees, which amounts to $15 per hour, is seen on Facebook.

The other employers mentioned didn't immediately return requests for comment.

Employees also receive a "block of unpaid time off to account for running late and they can use that time like a checking account, deducting when necessary for time out of work", Lynch writes.

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