Earlier this week, Amazon announced it would pay all its employees $15 an hour. The announcement came after much criticism from the public and notable figures like Sen. Bernie Sanders, who publicly called out CEO Jeff Bezos and even introduced a bill called “Stop Bezos Act.” Now, the senator is turning his sights on McDonald’s.
"How many weeks of paid vacation do you get? None,” Sen. Sanders says in one of his videos posted online.
The senator has gone after the fast-food chain on his YouTube channel before, but now, he’s swinging even harder. Writing in a letter to CEO Steve Easterbrook, Sanders asks the company to pay its employees $15 and to allow McDonald’s employees to join a union. Sanders went on to say, "it would set an example for the entire fast food industry to follow."
Sanders and McDonald’s workers have also criticized the company for encouraging employees to sign up for tax payer funded government benefits, while the company continues paying them low wages.
The company responded to Sander’s critiques by pointing to their employee benefits programs. Company officials say they're been providing $150 million in tuition assistance to employees over five years.
Is Sen. Sander’s hard line tactic working?
"I think it was clearly effective with Amazon,” says Paul Sonn with the National Employment Law Project.
Sonn says Sanders' critiques combined with worker-led movements are making a difference.
"Sen. Sanders is really asking the right questions: why major corporations in America that are that profitable can’t do better by their workers,” Sonn says.