Bernie Sanders Takes Aim at Amazon With 'Stop BEZOS' Act

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U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders escalated his attack on Amazon Wednesday, introducing the Stop BEZOS Act, a piece of legislation that would force big companies to cover the costs of federal assistance their employees receive. 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". Anecdotes shared by current and former Amazon employees corroborate these findings. The senator says hundreds of employees have written describing "terrible working conditions at Amazon warehouses and the low wages they are paid".

"I'm proposing a bill that would have Mr. Bezos ... and other billionaires get off of welfare and start paying their workers a living wage", Sanders said Wednesday.

"Specifically, this bill would establish a 100 percent tax on corporations with 500 or more employees, equal to the amount of federal benefits received by their low-wage workers", Sanders said.

The act is aimed at shaming companies like Amazon, Walmart and United Airlines who, despite being such large corporations, practically force their employees to depend on public assistance.

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

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"The basic premise of the American Dream is that if you work hard and you work for a company that's doing well, you should earn enough to support your family", said Khanna, according to The Washington Post. Rep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, introduced a House version of the same bill named the Corporate Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act. The median salary for full-time Amazon employees is $34,123, the company said.

Amazon, which has more than 575,000 workers, is the country's second-largest private employer, behind Walmart. The Vermont senator has previously railed against the way Amazon treats its workers.

One concern from Bernstein is that it "joins the right in vilifying benefit receipt". 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. "For example, if a worker at a large employer receives $300 in food stamps, the employer would be taxed $300".

Plus, the legislation likely wouldn't do much to raise wages, the center said.

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