During a Senate Budget Committee hearing today, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and three others introduced a bill that would tax CEOs who earn considerably more than their workers. Sponsors of the “Tax Excessive CEO Pay Act” said it would address growing wealth inequality in the U.S.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) also sponsored the bill, which would impose additional taxes on companies whose CEOs make 50x more than their median workers.
- The hearing, on “The Income and Wealth Inequality Crisis in America,” addressed that topic as well the power of large corporations and the ongoing Amazon union drive in Bessemer, Ala.
- Bessemer warehouse employee Jennifer Bates testified about the unionization efforts. She told the Budget Committee that a union would bring "respect and a "sense of empowerment" for employees there.
- Bates also said that Amazon has held meetings and taken aggressive actions to discourage employees from unionizing. Votes will be counted on March 30 to decide whether local workers will join the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union.
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos declined an invitation from Sanders to speak at the hearing. An Amazon spokesperson said that the CEO supports Sanders' efforts to lower income inequality through legislation by raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.