Amazon raises minimum wage to $15 for all U.S. workers

Political pressure works, y'all!

  • Even seasonal/temp workers will benefit from the wage raise.
  • The announcement is a direct response to public and political pressure.
  • The change begins November 1 — Merry Happy HoliXmas to folks who work there!

OK, be honest... who just searched for a job on Google with this news?

Giphy

Counting cash.

Politicians such as Bernie Sanders have spoken and even introduced legislation about the travesty presented by Amazon workers surviving on food stamps to supplement their wages—especially in light of the fact that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos makes more in one minute than many of these people do in a year.

"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead," Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos said in a statement. "We're excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us."

It's a testament to the power of political pressure, and the high-profile nature of Amazon as a company, that it has decided to make progress in this realm.

By the numbers...

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Amazon warehouse workers protest outside the Axel Springer building on April 24, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. Several hundred Amazon warehouse workers from Germany, Poland and Italy protested outside the Axel Springer building, where inside Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was scheduled to receive an award for innovation. The workers claim Amazon pays too little and offers too few benefits.

This will apply to 350,00 full time, part time, and temporary/contract workers in the United States who are vital to Amazon's ability to deliver as promised during the upcoming holidays. It also applies to Whole Foods employees, a company purchased last year by Amazon.

However, it also will be increased in some other countries— notably, Europe, where Amazon will raise the minimum to £10.50 (about $13.60) in the London area, and £9.60 ($12.33) for the rest of the United Kingdom.

In its press release, Amazon also stated that it will put pressure on the United States to increase the Federal minimum wage, which hasn't seen a bump from the current $7.25/hr. since 2009. The tipped minimum wage has been at $2.13/hr. since 1991.

Indeed, given the tighter labor market, though many of those jobs are low-wage and few benefits, this might mean other parts of retail and online sales companies will need to work on wages as well, or risk not having enough staff on hand for the coming holiday season.

In a speech today after the Amazon announcement praising Jeff Bezos and Amazon for making this move, Senator Sanders, who just last month introduced legislation called the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies act, told the media in attendance:

"It is no secret that I have been a harsh critic of the wage and employment practices of Amazon and its owner Jeff Bezos. It has been my view that the middle class and working families of this country should not have to subsidize Mr. Bezos, the wealthiest person on Earth, because many of his Amazon employees earned wages that were so low that they were forced to go on government programs like food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing."

"Today, I want to give credit where credit is due," Sanders said.

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