Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., praised automobile workers who are striking against their corporate employers on Sunday, saying the workers are suffering from “corporate greed.”
Sanders made the statement during a Sunday morning appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” with host Jake Tapper. The United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against the “Big 3” automakers – Ford, GM and Stellantis – reached its third day on Sunday.
“Sen. Sanders, Vice President Pence was on the show earlier. He said, when I asked him about the fact that the CEOs make multiples more than their average workers, 362 times more in the case of Ford – I said, do you think that’s fair? He said CEO pay is up to free enterprise. It’s up to shareholders, not the government,” Tapper said. “What’s your response?”
“I strongly disagree,” Sanders began. “The American people are sick and tired, in my view, Jake – and I have been all over this country – they are sick and tired of corporate greed, in which the very richest people are becoming richer. The head of General Motors now makes $29 million a year, and yet, if you go – if you’re a new worker in the Big Three, you make less than $17 an hour.”
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“So what you’re seeing in the automobile industry, in my view, is what we’re seeing all over this economy, greed on the top, suffering on the part of the working class. And people are tired of it,” he continued.
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Sanders went on to support UAW’s push for a four-day workweek, arguing that the introduction of artificial intelligence will soon boost the productivity of individual workers.
“I happen to believe that, as a nation, we should begin a serious discussion – and the UAW is doing that – about substantially lowering the workweek. People in America are stressed out for a dozen different reasons,” Sanders said. “And that’s one of the reasons why life expectancy in our country is actually in decline. People are overwhelmed. They got to take care of their kids. They got to worry about health care. They got to worry about housing. They’re worried.”
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“It seems to me that, if new technology is going to make us a more productive society, the benefits should go to the workers,” he said.
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Sanders joined UAW members on the picket line in Detroit on Friday. In addition to shorter workweeks, the union is demanding higher wages and better retirement benefits.