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Bernie Sanders Goes After the 'Wealthiest Family in America'

Senator rolls out the Stop WALMART Act
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2018 4:41 AM CST
Updated Nov 16, 2018 6:44 AM CST
Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally in support off Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at CFE Arena at UCF in Orlando, Fla.   (Jacob Langston/Orlando Sentinel via AP)
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(Newser) – The bigger they come, the harder Bernie Sanders will go after them, apparently. The senator from Vermont, whose recent campaign to improve conditions for Amazon workers led to the company raising its minimum wage to $15, now has Walmart in his sights, CNN reports. The independent senator, who calls the massive company the "poster child for corporate greed," introduced the Stop WALMART Act—or the "Stop Welfare for Any Large Monopoly Amassing Revenue from Taxpayers Act"—Thursday. It calls for companies to be banned from buying back stock unless their employees make at least $15 per hour, provide seven days of paid sick leave, and limit CEO compensation to 150 times the median worker pay.

Sanders said Walmart made $13 billion in profit last year and paid CEO Doug McMillon $22 million, around 1,188 times what the average worker made. "The Walton family, the owners of Walmart, are the wealthiest family in America with a net worth of about $180 billion. Meanwhile, most Walmart retail workers are working for horrendously low wages with minimal benefits," Sanders tells CNBC. "The wealthiest family in America must pay its workers a living wage." Walmart says it has already raised starting wages by more than 50% in recent years. The stock buybacks the bill targets have been rising since the Republican tax law passed last year, the Washington Post reports. Walmart said last year it had authorized $20 billion in buybacks over two years. (Sanders has also been working on a plan to guarantee a job to every American who needs one.)

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