Bernie Sanders campaign focuses on Walmart, starts petition for $15 wage

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has made it a key talking point of his campaign to target Walmart — employer of over 1.5 million Americans — and insist the retail giant bump all its employees to at least $15 an hour.

On Wednesday he sent out a post on Twitter calling for supporters to sign a petition demanding higher pay for Walmart workers.

In another tweet, he attacked the company’s large earnings and owners’ wealth as the reason for raising the wage.

CBS News reports that CEO Doug McMillon has been paid almost $24 million in combined cash and stock value in the past year, which Sanders sees as money that could be spent on workers.

On Wednesday, Sanders also visited Arkansas to attend Walmart’s annual shareholders’ meeting, where he advocated for the wage bump. The company’s starting pay is currently $11 an hour.

“Walmart can afford to pay its employees a living wage of at least $15 an hour,” he told the board. He also said Walmart workers should get seats on the board.

Sanders’ new campaign on Walmart is a continuation of his attack on Amazon last fall. Amazon owner Jeff Bezos gave in to the senator’s demands and raised Amazon’s wage to $15.

At a campaign speech in Montpelier two weeks ago, Sanders began training his sights on Walmart.

Walmart

ON HIS RADAR: Bernie Sanders has targeted retail giant Walmart in his calls for a $15 minimum wage.

“In America today we have one family, the Walton family of Walmart. This is a family that is worth $175 billion — they are doing well,” he said. “Meanwhile, this very same family that owns Walmart pays its workers wages that are so low that many of those employees are forced to go on government programs like Medicaid, food stamp, and public housing.

“In other words, working families like you here in Vermont and throughout this country are paying extra taxes to subsidize the wealthiest family in this country. How insane is that?”

It was at that point in his speech that he announced his intention to visit the Walmart board meeting. He added that Walmart workers had invited him to the meeting.

“I’m not quite sure how welcoming the Walton family will be,” Sanders said, “but let me tell you what I will tell them. My message to the Walton family will be, ‘Pay your workers a living wage, $15 an hour, we do not want to continue providing corporate welfare for the richest family in America.'”

According to some analysts, the total impact of the wage bump for Amazon workers may actually be a net loss due to the elimination of other benefits, including stock shares and monthly bonuses.

On Wednesday, former Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon responded to Sanders’ comments in an interview with Fox Business.

“His demands are just old news,” Simon said. “I mean … the things that we’ve been doing will increase the minimum wage — keep unemployment low, keep the economy on fire. And there are jobs out there that are $10, $12, $14 an hour, so we are heading in the right direction.”

He noted that the company is already paying “tens of billions” every year in taxes.

“They do a good job taking care of people to the best of their ability given the fact that their low-margin business is designed to sell products to a really broad category of people in America,” he added.

Simon said Walmart embraces a free-market approach to wages.

“As long as they can fill their stores and right now they are saying $11 will do it, the market is driving the wage and I’m really thrilled, frankly, that the market is driving the starting wage up. The government should not be deciding what the starting wage is,” he said.

Simon said some other benefits the company pays includes an expanded aid program for young adults looking to go to college.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Walmart

6 thoughts on “Bernie Sanders campaign focuses on Walmart, starts petition for $15 wage

  1. Who has created more private sector jobs, Walmart or Bernie? Bernie never actually has a working policy drawn up, he merely yells angrily to folks who want to feel like they are victims, then they vote for him.

  2. If Walmart had to offer $15/hour to find adequate help, they would. They provide a decent working environment and have high moral. Been in stores where there is an employee meeting and all are chanting happy Walmart slogans. Sorry, Bernie. The markets set wages.

  3. I wonder how many unskilled under paid illegals were used to glue burnee’s book
    (Communism for Dummies) spines together so he could become a 3 home millionaire?
    If workers at WalMart believe they don’t make enough their probably able to QUIT and move to
    a higher paying job at another retailer, if they can find one. This isn’t China you ol commie fool, their
    not required to work for WalMart.

  4. Jeff Bezos took away other things and benefits for the hourly raise….

    They will have to raise wages, if we stop importing more workers…….pay will go up naturally, stop suppressing American wages by diluting our work pool Mr. Sanders…..

    btw….this wage is higher than 97% of the entire world….please Senator Sanders, shouldn’t we be grateful for how stinkin’ rich we are from just having been born in America? Isn’t that the true testament to how wonder our country is.

    Bernie, It’s ok to Love America.

  5. Socialist Sanders, how many thousands of people do you employee and what are you
    paying them ??

    I didn’t state the 1.5M that Walmart employs, are these top tier jobs ” NO ” but they are
    working Americans, something your Socialist followers would never do !!

    Socialist Sanders Vermont’s barking buffoon, you should be proud, as you elect this
    fool year after year

  6. Bernie is nothing but a babbling idiot. He’ll keep pushing an agenda that adds money to lower scale workers as long as they keep donating money to make him richer..
    He’s such a hypocrite.. Keep donating socialist, keep donating..

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