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. Sanders, not one to mince words, chose an acronym that matches the name of Amazon's chief executive. Anecdotes shared by current and former Amazon employees corroborate these findings.
"Amazon is worth $1 TRILLION", Sanders tweeted Tuesday. For instance, if an Amazon employee gets $2,000 in food stamps, the company would be taxed $2,000 to cover the cost. "Pay workers a living wage or pay for the public assistance programs their low-wage employees are forced to depend upon". The median United States salary for full-time Amazon employees is $34,123, it says. That amounts to the kind of corporate welfare the Vermont senator says costs US taxpayers billions of dollars a year.
"We do not believe that taxpayers should have to expend huge sums of money subsidizing profitable corporations owned by some of the wealthiest people in this country", continued Sanders, who's partnering with California Rep. Ro Khanna on the bill.
Amazon declined to comment about the legislation, but in a blog post the company argued it provides "competitive pay, health insurance, disability insurance, retirement savings plans, company stock, and flexible schedules for new parents, along with opportunities to learn skills and further develop their career", countering Sanders's accounts of employee experiences. But last week, Amazon responded by asking employees to tell the Vermont Senator "your truth".
The 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. Sanders also criticized Amazon for not paying enough in taxes.
One concern from Bernstein is that it "joins the right in vilifying benefit receipt". Sanders' bill isn't likely to progress in the current political climate but it does bring added attention to warehouse worker conditions, which have come under scrutiny in recent months.
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.
Under the bill, the likes of Amazon and Walmart Inc.
"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.