Amazon just gave its workers a huge raise after a big push from Bernie Sanders.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Amazon have had a long-standing beef.

Sanders has been on Jeff Bezos and his company for the way it treats many of its workers: low wages, inhumane working conditions and production demands that rarely trickle down to those who help make it one of the world’s two $1 trillion dollar corporations.


Well, Jeff Bezos heard Bernie’s points and decided to make a change, announcing that he’s raising the minimum wage for all full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees with Amazon to $15.

The wage increase affects 250,000 full-time Amazon employees and more than 100,000 part-time and seasonal workers.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

It’s a huge development for Amazon and an even bigger win for the workers and Sanders himself.

But instead of gloating or pointing out where Amazon still needs to get better, Sanders showed the right way to respond by correctly praising Bezos during a press conference that was live-streamed on Facebook:

"Today, I want to give credit where credit is due and I want to congratulate Mr. Bezos for doing exactly the right thing," Sanders said.

"What Mr. Bezos today has done is not only enormously important for Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of employees, it could well be, and I think it will be, a shot heard around the world," Sanders added.

Sanders Responds to Amazon $15 Minimum Wage

Amazon announced it is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour

Posted by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday, October 2, 2018

There’s still more work to be done. And even $15 an hour doesn't cut it.

A $15 hourly wage is more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25 But it's still shockingly low when you crunch the numbers. A $15 hourly wage over a 40 hour week multiplied by 52 weeks is still only $31,200. And that's before taxes. And almost no one works a full week every single week of the year when you count vacation, sick days and other life events.

As this graphic from the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows, it's incredibly difficult to make rent in any state across the U.S. not just trendy urban centers like New York or Los Angeles.

National Low Income Housing Coalition

Sanders didn’t dance around his past disagreements with Bezos, noting that many of his corporation’s employees were forced to go on food stamps just to meet basic needs. But he pivoted today’s news to saying that if Amazon can do this, there’s no excuse for other major corporations like them, who rely on the efforts of low-wage workers.

"Mr. Bezos and Amazon are now leading the way but there is absolutely now no reason why other profitable corporations like Walmart, like the fast food industry, like retail in general, and other employees ... should not be paying their employees at least $15 an hour," the senator added.

If you work full-time, you shouldn’t need assistance just to get by.

The larger point Sanders is trying to make seems obvious to anyone who works full-time, regardless of their personal politics.

If you work 40 hours or more a week, you should make enough money to live a comfortable, basic existence. That means food, clothing and shelter.

As a society, we can debate what it means on the higher level in terms of education, healthcare and other so-called “benefits” that are increasingly enjoyed by fewer Americans.

But there should be no debate about whether those who are able to, and choose to work, are rewarded with wages that give them the basic dignity to live independent lives.

As Sanders said: "In this country, our standard should be that if you work 40-hours a week, you should not be living in poverty."

So, when someone like Jeff Bezos makes strides towards embracing that kind of philosophy, he should be praised. Shaming our leaders has its place. But so does praising them when they choose to learn, adapt and do the right thing.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.