Bernie Sanders refers to Amazon’s $15-an-hour wage as ‘shot heard round the world’
Sen. Bernie Sanders has been one of Amazon.com Inc.’s staunchest critics. That’s why a rare instance of praise from the Vermont senator and 2016 presidential candidate is notable, following the U.S.’s second largest employer’s announcement on Tuesday that it is raising the minimum wage for all U.S. workers to $15 an hour:
“Today, I want to give credit where credit is due,” Sanders said following Amazon’s announcement.
Back in early September, Sanders rolled out legislation that would tax corporations for the federal benefits their employees receive, named Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies, and nicknamed the BEZOS Act, which was a barely veiled reference to Amazon’sAMZN, -0.29%multibillionaire CEO Jeff Bezos, whom the 77-year-old senator had accused of not paying his workers a living wage.
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Amazon’s shares were up less than 0.1% late morning Tuesday, having reversed an earlier decline, but have gained 72% this year, compared with a 9.4% rise by the broad-market S&P 500 indexSPX, +0.09%over the past nine months and an 8.2% climb for the Dow Jones Industrial AverageDJIA, +0.40%thus far in 2018.
Amazon’s outsized gains this year have helped to make Bezos significantly wealthier; he now boasts a net worth of $163.4 billion, according to Forbes data.
Meanwhile, Amazon has been pilloried for the working conditions at some of its fulfillment centers.
Dave Clark, senior vice president of operations at the e-tail behemoth, posted on Twitter a video clip of workers receiving the news at an Amazon all-hands meeting early Tuesday:
Sanders said he hopes Amazon’s wage hike will encourage other employers to follow suit, which certain skeptics think the Seattle-based company might welcome. Bezos, in a tweeted response, said as much:
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