Now that Amazon has agreed to increase the minimum wage it pays workers to $15 an hour, Sen. Bernie Sanders is turning his living-wage crusade to another target: McDonald’s.
The Vermont Senator sent a letter Thursday to McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook, exhorting the fast-food chain to pay its workers a minimum of $15 an hour.
“As I’m sure you know, Amazon, Whole Foods and the Walt Disney Co. recently raised the minimum wage for its workforce to $15 an hour. I am respectfully asking you, as the CEO of one of the largest fast-food chains in the world, to do the same,” Sanders wrote in his letter, which he shared on Twitter.
“If McDonald’s raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour and respected the constitutional rights of your workers to form a union, it would set an example for the entire fast-food industry to follow,” the letter said.
In August, Sanders began calling out Amazon for the wages it paid warehouse workers, noting the contrast between the wealth of CEO Jeff Bezos, who recently became the richest man in modern history, and the need of many Amazon workers to seek assistance through food stamps. Amazon responded by calling Sanders’ claims “inaccurate and misleading.”
Last month, Sanders upped the ante by introducing the “Stop BEZOS Act,” legislation that would require large, profitable companies like Amazon to pay a 100% tax on any federal aid their employees receive through food stamps, Medicaid, and public housing. Sanders has also openly chided Disney for failing to pay its theme-park workers what he considered a living wage.
In the wake of that pressure, Amazon and Disney have agreed to pay many of their workers a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Target has also agreed to introducing a minimum hourly wage of $15 by 2020. Amazon’s move has proven somewhat controversial because it’s also eliminating monthly bonuses and stock option awards, which could negate the wage increase for some of its workers.
Sanders tweeted his letter to McDonald’s during mid-day trading Wednesday, causing McDonald’s stock to fall 0.6% to $164.69. By the end of the day, the stock had recovered and closed up 0.7% on the day at $165.80 a share. Sanders’ style, however, is to be persistent. Now that McDonald’s is in his crosshairs, the Senator is unlikely to let up any time soon.