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Donkees's Journal
Donkees's Journal
August 29, 2018

Sanders Response to Amazon Statement on Working Conditions

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


BURLINGTON, Vt. – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement Wednesday after Amazon responded to Sanders’ call for stories from Amazon workers:

“Let’s start with the facts. All over this country, many Amazon employees, who work for the wealthiest person on Earth, are paid wages so low they can’t make ends meet. Thousands of Amazon employees are forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing because their wages are too low, including 1 out of 3 of its workers in Arizona and 2,400 in Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to The New Food Economy. Bottom line: the taxpayers of this country should not have to subsidize employees at a company owned by Mr. Bezos who is worth $155 billion. That is absurd.

“Amazon has been less than forthcoming with information about their employment practices. What we do know is that Amazon’s median employee pay is only $28,446 — 9 percent less than the industry average and well below what constitutes a living wage in the United States. Further, we believe that many of Amazon’s workers are employed by temporary staffing agencies and contractors and make even less than the median Amazon employee.

“Unfortunately, this is all the information we have because Amazon refuses to make public complete information about the wages and benefits provided by the contractors it uses to run fulfillment centers across the country. If Amazon is so proud of the way it treats its workers, it should make public the number of people it hires through temporary staffing agencies like Integrity Staffing Solutions and make public the hourly rate and benefits those workers earn.

“It’s not only low wages that are of concern with regard to Amazon. There are deeply disturbing stories about working conditions at fulfillment centers run by Amazon and its contractors. Amazon’s warehouses are on the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s list of most dangerous places to work in the United States. According to the NCOSH, seven Amazon workers have died on or near the job since 2013, including three workers within five weeks at three separate locations last year. I will be asking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to investigate unsafe working conditions at Amazon fulfillment centers.

“In terms of visiting a fulfillment center, last month I was visiting Wisconsin and requested to visit the fulfillment center in Kenosha. Unfortunately, Amazon could not accommodate me then. In September, I look forward to visiting the fulfillment center in Chester, Virginia, and working out the details with Amazon. We have heard from workers there, including Navy veteran Seth King, about unsafe working conditions and at least one person has reportedly died at the warehouse.

“On September 5 we are going to introduce legislation to end the absurdity of middle class taxpayers having to subsidize large, profitable corporations, many of which are owned by billionaires. If Amazon, Walmart and other corporations won’t pay their workers a living wage, our bill would establish a 100 percent tax equal to the amount of federal benefits received by their low-wage workers. The American taxpayer should not be subsidizing the richest people in history so they can underpay their employees.”




August 24, 2018

Now Bernie Sanders wants Amazon to pay up.

By Abha Bhattarai, Business Reporter
August 23 at 11:23 PM


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will soon introduce legislation that would require large employers like Amazon, Walmart and McDonald’s to fully cover the cost of food stamps, public housing, Medicaid and other federal assistance received by their employees. The goal, he says, is to force corporations to pay a living wage and curb roughly $150 billion in taxpayer dollars that currently go to funding federal assistance programs for low-wage workers each year.

The bill, which Sanders plans to introduce in the Senate on Sept. 5, would impose a 100 percent tax on government benefits received by workers at companies with 500 or more employees. For example, if an Amazon employee receives $300 in food stamps, Amazon would be taxed $300.

“At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, the gap between the very rich and everyone else continues to grow wider," Sanders said.

Sanders' bill would be an extension of a petition he started on Tuesday calling on the world’s richest man, Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos, to pay workers a living wage and to improve working conditions at Amazon warehouses. As of Thursday morning, it had 105,000 signatures.


August 22, 2018

A Koch-funded think tank tries hard to pretend it didn't find savings from Sanders' Medicare Plan

AUG 22, 2018 | 6:30 AM


What’s overlooked in all these cavils about Sanders’ crowing about Blahous’ finding is that the champion cherry-picker in the discussion is Charles Blahous. The cherry he picks is the cost of Medicare for All to the federal government, and he fills a bushel basket with his harvest. “Paying for every American’s healthcare expenses would increase federal spending by $32.6 trillion over the first decade,” he writes. “Even if Congress were to double what it collects in individual and corporate income taxes, there still wouldn’t be enough money added to the federal coffers to finance the costs of this plan.”

Notice what he did there? He pretended that the only economic effect of the plan would be to drive up government spending, without netting out the savings reaped by businesses and individuals by eliminating premiums, deductibles and co-pays. Nor does he factor in the value to individuals and society of the expanded services advocated by Sanders. Sure, giving everyone dental and vision coverage will cost money. But in return, everyone gets dental and vision care. Isn’t that a positive?

In other words, Blahous counted all the increases in costs and attributed them all to the government, without placing his government spending figures in the context of the reduced spending by individuals and businesses or the gains in health services. That’s some world-class cherry-picking right there.

So, sure, let’s acknowledge that Sanders built his Medicare for All plan on a foundation of assumptions about costs and savings. But Blahous built his attack on a foundation of assumptions about costs and savings, just a different foundation. To declare his assumptions credible and Sanders’ not is to give up the fight for universal healthcare before the bugle is even blown. That’s what Blahous was hoping for, and no one should let him get away with it.



August 22, 2018

CDP leader Yukio Edano eyeing Bernie Sanders meeting in first visit to U.S. as party chief

Aug 22, 2018


Yukio Edano, leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, will make a six-day trip to the United States from Sept. 11 in his first overseas visit since the main opposition party was formed last October, according to a CDP lawmaker.

Talks are currently underway to schedule a meeting between Edano, a former chief Cabinet secretary, and former U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, a CDP official told The Japan Times on Wednesday.

Sanders garnered intense support from young voters during the 2016 presidential campaign through policies centering on measures to address economic inequality.

Edano plans to visit Washington to meet U.S. experts and members of Congress with the hope of discussing issues related to the U.S.-Japan relationship, North Korea and trade, CDP Secretary-General Tetsuro Fukuyama said at a news conference Tuesday. Edano is also expected to deliver a speech at a university.


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