By Madison Alworth
Bernie Sanders has set his political sights on Amazon and will introduce new legislation on Sept. 5 that would target the e-commerce giant and other companies of similar size and influence.
But can the Vermont Senator actually shake the seemingly unshakable company? TechCrunch editor Brian Heater thinks not ー he's not even certain the measure will pass.
"That is kind of a big if," he said Thursday in an interview on Cheddar. "The bigger picture here for a company like Amazon is just the negative PR surrounding it."
The legislation will demand higher wages for warehouse employees and other entry-level workers at corporations with millions or billions in net profits.
"What he's targeting is what he calls 'corporate welfare,'" Heater said. "The fact that [CEO Jeff Bezos is] making all of this money, they are one of the most profitable companies in the world right now, and a lot of the factory workers, according to Sanders and some reports, are receiving Medicaid, are on food stamps, have government subsidized housing."
The unfortunate conditions for Amazon's workers are not the stuff of breaking news. As early as 2012, outlets like Mother Jones, Gawker, and the Guardian published exposés on the company's exploitative practices.
Amazon has been fairly tight-lipped on the accusations ー until now.
The company posted a statement on Wednesday directly related to the controversy and Sanders's claims.
"Senator Sanders continues to make inaccurate and misleading accusations against Amazon. We have been in regular contact with his office and have offered several opportunities for Senator Sanders and his team to tour one of our fulfillment centers (FCs). To date he has still not seen an FC for himself," the company wrote.
Sanders called for submissions on Tuesday from current or former Amazon workers, asking them to tweet out their experiences of mistreatment or share them on his personal site.
The cause is very on-brand for the Democratic Socialist, Heater said, but the impact may be largely symbolic.
"Income inequality was a really big part of his message in 2016 when [Sanders]\ ran for president," he said.
"A lot of people rely on Amazon for just about every part of their life. I don't know that it's ultimately going to have a tremendous effect on the company's bottom line."
So far investors don't seem to be worried. Amazon shares are trading at record highs, inching closer to making it the second trillion dollar market cap company in the U.S.
For full interview click here.