The Walt Disney Company is an enormously profitable corporation worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 billion. Last year, it made $9 billion in profits and rewarded its CEO, Bob Iger, with a compensation package worth up to $423 million over a four-year period. And as a result of the Trump tax cuts, they were given an additional $1.6 billion.
At the same time -- and this is a national disgrace -- employees at the company's theme park in Anaheim, California are paid so poorly that many of them are literally living in a tent city not far from the park.
According to one recent study, nearly 1 in 10 workers employed at the park reported being homeless in the past two years, more than 2 in 3 say they are food insecure, and 3 out of 4 employees say they do not make enough money for their basic needs.
This is not what Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are supposed to be about. This does not sound like the "happiest place on Earth" to me.
Now, I could be wrong, but I don't expect you will see the plight of these low-wage workers at Disney discussed tonight on ABC, which is owned by Disney. Nor do I think you will be hearing too much about income and wealth inequality in the mainstream media.
That is why I am heading to California this weekend to rally with these workers and union organizers fighting to demand that Disney pay all of its workers a living wage.
Those workers could use your support as well:
It is long past time that we, as a nation, stop worshipping the corporate greed of Disney and businessmen like Bob Iger, their CEO.
While he may be regarded as a brilliant and successful businessman among his peers in the financial, media, and political elite, the truth is that the way Bob Iger and Disney treat their workers represents much of what is wrong with contemporary capitalism.
This is a company, and a CEO, that accepted an obscene tax cut gifted to them by the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress, publicly promised to anyone who would list a $1,000 bonus for all of their employees, and then withheld that bonus from some union employees unless they agreed to a contract that gave them a tiny raise to a wage that is still a starvation wage.
This is a company, and a CEO, that in addition to paying their workers here at home extremely low wages, employs many thousands of people in China to manufacture their products sold at Disney stores and online.
This type of greed and ruthless capitalism is not an economic model that we should be embracing. It is not to be celebrated. We can do better, and we must do better.
That is why this weekend I am heading to California to stand with Disney's workers and to demand that Disney pay them wages and benefits which allow them to live with dignity and security.
I want to bring your voice with me. Make them hear the outrage that so many of us feel with regard to this type of economic exploitation.
In addition to my event with Disney workers and union leaders, I will visit Carson, California for a town hall with port truck drivers, who handle 40 percent of consumer goods and merchandise imported into our country -- and warehouse workers serving the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach. These are some of the most abused and exploited workers in America, and I intend to support them and demand that they are paid a living wage with decent benefits.