Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had rare words of praise for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Tuesday morning, following the tech titan’s decision to increase the minimum wage for Amazon’s domestic workers to $15 per hour.
“Today I want to give credit where credit is due,” Sanders said in a brief news conference. “And I want to congratulate Mr. Bezos for doing exactly the right thing.”
The senator and former presidential candidate was not subtle about his criticism of Bezos and other large corporations, introducing a piece of legislation called the Stop BEZOS act last month alongside fellow progressive Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA).
The bill, which was not likely to pass, proposed a 100-percent tax on large employers equal to the amount of federal benefits that the companies’ low-wage workers received.
“This is exactly the response Sen. Sanders and I hoped for when we introduced our bill,” Khanna said in a statement. “We called on Jeff Bezos to do this and be the Henry Ford of his generation and raise wages. I am glad Amazon listened. Many in the beltway criticized our bill as impractical. But Amazon’s action shows that our bill can inspire multibillion dollar companies to raise the wages of their workers. Hopefully more companies will follow Amazon’s lead.”
Sanders also thanked the individuals involved in the “Fight for 15” movement who have pushed for a national raise in the minimum wage. “It could well be, and I think it will be, a shot heard around the world,” Sanders said in response to the Amazon decision.
In a tweet, Bezos thanked Sanders, adding, “We’re excited about this, and also hope others will join in.”