Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has waged a relentless campaign against large corporations in an effort to raise wages for their workers, is now focusing attention on Walmart.
The “Stop WALMART Act,” introduced on Thursday with Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), would prohibit large employers from from buying back stock until they pay all employees at least $15 an hour, allow employees to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave, and ensure that CEO compensation is not more than 150 times the median pay of all employees.
“The American people understand that there is something totally absurd that you have large profitable corporations who make billions of dollars a year in profit who pay their workers starvations wages,” Sanders said in a call with reporters Thursday. “While at the same time providing their CEOs with very very high compensation packages.”
“When we talk about corporate greed in this country, I think it's fair to say that Walmart becomes the poster child,” the senator continued.
Sanders and Khanna pointed out that Walmart made more than $13 billion in profits last year with median worker pay being $19,177. Additionally, they noted, the Walton family has a net worth of around $180 billion and owns about 50 percent of its stock.
Walmart announced earlier this year that it was planning on raising its starting wage to $11 per hour following the passage of the Republican tax-reform measure.
In August, Sanders introduced a similar piece of legislation focused on Amazon, which resulted in CEO Jeff Bezos announcing that the minimum wage for his company’s domestic workers would increase to $15 per hour.
“While tens of thousands of Walmart workers are struggling to survive, Alice Walton had no problem amassing a private art collection worth half a billion dollars," Sanders said. "Enough is enough. The time is long overdue for the Walton family to pay its workers a living wage. If large, profitable corporations like Amazon and Disney can pay all of their workers a minimum wage of at least $15 an hour, so can Walmart."