Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on Tuesday released a set of requirements she would like to impose on U.S. corporations that receive assistance from the federal government in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“When the 2008 financial crisis hit, the federal government responded with a bankers' bailout. The rich and powerful got richer and more powerful,” Warren said in an op-ed on CNN Monday. “Any stimulus package must ... pass an important test: federal money that goes to big corporations or specific industries must be used to help their employees. Funds must come with strings attached to ensure that the money goes to maintain payroll, not to enrich shareholders or pay executive bonuses.”
Here’s the list of “progressive priorities and requirements” Warren wants to see in any stimulus package:
- Companies must maintain their payrolls and use funds to keep people working or on payroll.
- Companies must provide a $15 minimum wage as quickly as practicable but no later than one year of the national emergency declaration ending.
- Companies are permanently prohibited from engaging in share repurchases.
- Companies are prohibited from paying out dividends or executive bonuses while they are receiving any relief and for three years thereafter.
- Companies must set aside at least one seat -- but potentially two or more, as the amount of relief increases -- on the board of directors for representatives elected by workers.
- Collective bargaining agreements should remain in place and should not be reopened or renegotiated pursuant to this relief program.
- Corporations must obtain shareholder and board approval for all political expenditures.
- CEOs must be required to personally certify a company is compliance and face criminal penalties for violating these certifications.
Warren hasn’t said how she plans to enact her proposals, or whether they are a necessary condition for her support of the stimulus packages currently being debated in Congress.