Senator Bernie Sanders is inviting the CEOs of four major American corporations — Amazon, Walmart, McDonald’s and Disney — to face their employees during a live-streamed town hall in Washington, D.C. on July 16. The event is intended to be a platform for underpaid workers to voice concerns and bring attention to inequality in corporate America.
“I really hope (the CEOs) have the guts to sit on a panel with their own employees and explain why it’s acceptable that they receive huge compensation packages while their very own workers are struggling to put food on the table,” Sanders told CNN. “I hope they have the courage to do so. The invitation is sincere.”
Sanders is inviting Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Doug McMillon of Walmart, Steve Easterbrook of McDonald’s, and Bob Iger of Disney to attend the town hall. The letters to the CEOs, signed by nearly two dozen members of congress, are to be sent out Thursday.
“No one who works for ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’ should wonder where their next meal is coming from, or where they’re going to sleep at night,” said Representative Keith Ellison on Twitter, sharing the signed letter to Disney.
The letter gives testimonies from workers who say they can’t afford to eat three meals a day or take care of their kids. Sanders cites statistics from the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College and the Economic Roundtable, which state that 1 in 10 Disneyland workers report having been homeless in the past two years.
“Disney is not a poor company,” reads the letter. “Disney is a $150 billion corporation, which made $9 billion in profits last year… Unfortunately, while Disney’s profits are soaring, the wages and benefits for many of its workers are totally inadequate.”
The letter urges Disney “to sit down at the negotiating table with its unions and agree to a fair contract,” including living wages of $15 an hour, bonuses that were promised but undelivered, affordable health care benefits, and a reliable schedule.
The letters have been signed, but it’s uncertain yet if the CEOs will accept the invitations to Sanders’ town hall.