Home » Sanders gets heated in exchange with Fox Business reporter over proposed 32-hour workweek

Sanders gets heated in exchange with Fox Business reporter over proposed 32-hour workweek

by Marko Florentino
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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) became angry when a reporter with Fox Business questioned him on his proposed legislation that would create a 32-hour workweek.

“Can I talk to you about the 32-hour workweek?” Fox Business reporter Hillary Vaughn asked Sanders, which prompted him to ask her which outlet she worked for.

Vaughn then said that it seems like Democrats want businesses to be taxed more. Sanders cut her off, saying, “Really? This how we do things?” The two continued to talk over each other, with Sanders saying “excuse me” and Vaughn telling him she didn’t get to ask her question.

The Senator then looked directly at the camera, making his case for proposing a four-day workweek without a reduction in pay for employees.

“We held a hearing on a 32-hour workweek because what we have seen is that over the last 50 years, despite a huge increase in worker productivity, almost all of the wealth has gone to the top 1 percent, while 60 percent of the people [are] living paycheck to paycheck,” Sanders said, as highlighted by Mediaite.  

“Many of our people are exhausted,” he continued. “We work the longest hours of any people in the industrialized world. I think it’s time for a shortened workweek.”

Vaughn attempted to ask the same question for a second time and Sanders cut her off again, waving his hand in front of her face. Vaughn asked the senator how businesses would survive a shortened workweek, and Sanders argued that Amazon owner Jeff Bezos pays a lower tax rate than the average worker, which shows “we have a real problem with our tax system.”

“I think that billionaires have got to start paying their fair share of taxes,” he said.

Sanders introduced the bill, which would lower the threshold required for overtime pay from 40 hours to 32, on Wednesday. It would also require overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times an employee’s regular salary for workdays that are longer than eight hours and overtime pay at a rate of 2 times an employee’s regular salary for workdays longer than 12 hours.

In a press release Wednesday, Sanders argued that his proposed legislation is not “a radical idea.” Employees today are more than 400 times more productive than they were in the 1940s, yet they still work longer hours and earn lower wages than they did decades ago, he said.

In his release, Sanders pointed to several pilot programs and studies that showed an increase in productivity with a 32-hour workweek. The studies found that because employees were happier, they were more productive at their jobs.

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