Sanders and Sawant: Different reactions to Amazon’s $15 min. wage
Sen. Bernie Sanders and Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant may not exactly align on every issue, but they do swim in the same end of the political pool — Socialism. And they each reacted quite differently to news that Amazon is establishing a $15 minimum wage this week.
Whatever your perspective, KIRO Nights Gee Scott said credit should be given where it is due.
“Every single time Jeff Bezos or Amazon, whether he’s donating $2 billion or taking any step in the right direction, there’s always folks out there saying ‘Yeah but, yeah but,’” he said. “You know what, every single day you can see, a little bit, where Amazon is trying to be better than they were yesterday. We know they are creating jobs. Their technology is amazing. They have all of us using it. But they are trying to say, ‘How can we be better as a company?’ That, I respect.”
Sawant, a council member in Amazon’s home city of Seattle, did not have much respect for the company following the minimum wage news.
“This is not out of some mythical benevolence from Jeff Bezos,” Sawant told KIRO Radio. “This is out of social struggle that they are being forced to make this concession. And we should channel this victory into a movement to unionize warehouse workers.”
“This is not because Jeff Bezos or billionaires are nice people….” she said. “(Billionaires) are not on our side. They will squeeze every drop of sweat and blood from workers to maximize their profits. That’s how Bezos gets to be the richest guy in the world. That is why workers have to keep fighting and understand that we have to build power from below, among workers, and not have this imaginary illusion that Jeff Bezos is somehow going to do the right thing because he believes it.”
It was the strength of movements that forced Bezos to make the concession on $15/hour – to try & mitigate his (accurate) image as a bully and an exploiter. How stunningly wrong were the Seattle City Councilmembers who capitulated to billionaire bullying & repealed the Amazon Tax.
— Kshama Sawant (@cmkshama) October 2, 2018
Sawant also coined the term “Bezos bullying” in Seattle as resistance to the Seattle City Council’s Amazon tax emerged. She was also critical of Bezos after he began a $2 billion charity fund addressing education in low-income areas and homelessness.
While Sawant has patted Sen. Sanders on the back for his recent efforts to tax large companies like Amazon, his reaction to the wage increase was quite different.
“I want to applaud Jeff Bezos for doing the right thing, and that is making sure every worker there earns at least $15 an hour,” Sanders told MSNBC after the announcement.
Sanders and Bezos even had an amicable Twitter exchange after the news.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) October 2, 2018
Sanders was partially responsible for putting forth the “Stop BEZOS Act.” The proposed law aimed to tax large companies where employees relied upon government services. In other words, the companies would be taxed for the costs of public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps that employees use.
Sanders now wants to move forward and target low wages among the fast food industry and the airline industry.