U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont had a simple question for Californians at a campaign rally this week.
“Anybody here work for Disney?” the White House hopeful asked a crowd Tuesday in Anaheim, a couple miles away from Disneyland itself. “Anybody here making a living wage from Disney?”
“No!” came the roar from the audience.
Wednesday, Walt Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, a Hillary Clinton donor who pulled down $44.9 million last year, struck back.
“We created 11,000 new jobs at Disneyland in the past decade, and our company has created 18,000 in the U.S. in the last five years,” the Wrap quoted Iger as writing on Facebook. “How many jobs have you created? What have you contributed to the U.S. economy?”
Sticking to the spirit of his left-leaning populist campaign message, Sanders recently put Disney on notice for raking in huge profits while axing American jobs and underpaying workers. It’s the same kind of rhetoric he’s marshalled against communications giant Verizon, whose employees he joined on the picket line last month.
“The company makes billions of dollars in profit, but they are paying workers wages that are so low that many of the workers cannot find housing and they have to stay in hotels,” the presidential candidate thundered Wednesday.
“It would be very nice of the Disney corporation to start building factories in the United States,” Sanders said.
Disney and Iger boast of creating jobs in the U.S., but last year the company laid off 250 American data workers who were made to train their replacements — Indian employees in the country on H-1B work visas.
The family entertainment giant scored the visas through a prominent outsourcing firm, the kind of practice opposed by Sanders and other members of Congress but favored by tech giants such as Mark Zuckerberg’s social network giant, Facebook.