Amazon's Wages Rise, While US Lags Behind

Marco Green
October 9, 2018

It is nearly $3 shy of the average for a non-management worker in warehousing in the United States. "Amazon can afford to make all workers whole and should do that". Those that called an employee hotline seeking answers heard a prerecorded message: the employee resource center "does not have any additional information we can share with you at this time".

The online retailer also said it would now lobby in Washington DC for an increase in the federal minimum wage and urged its competitors to follow its lead as the union-led "Fight for Fifteen" movement pushes for higher remuneration.

"At $7.25, the federal minimum wage is a poverty wage".

The company wouldn't share details about its restricted stock unit program, though typically it's considered part of an employee's compensation and vests after a period of time. Analysts said the raise would cost it $1 billion or less annually but would be offset by a recent $20 increase in the cost of its Prime memberships. "You can not continue to pay your workers starvation wages", Sanders said in an interview with CNN.

"This is Amazon waking up and smelling the coffee".

According to Amazon, the wage increase will include workers employed by temp agencies along with seasonal holiday employees, while workers already earning $15 an hour will receive pay increases. Bernie Sanders, who had been highly critical of the company's treatment of low-wage workers, praised Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world's richest person.

The move comes after months of criticism and damning media reports that described harsh working conditions in Amazon warehouses.

Earlier this year, it became public knowledge that despite its CEO being named the world's richest man - valued at approximately U.S. $165 billion - it was not uncommon for Amazon's lowest earners to be claiming public benefits such as food stamps, as their wage alone was not enough to rely on. What policy does Amazon have for the pay and benefits of contractors?

Further controversy emerged following a comparison of Bezos' wage versus that of his lowest-paid staff, with some estimates calculating that Bezos earned the annual salary of his company's lowest earners every 11.5 seconds. Economists said the move could put pressure on other large employers to raise wages.

Amazon also raised its minimum wage in Britain to 10.50 pounds ($13.59) an hour for all employees in the London area and 9.50 pounds an hour for staff in all other parts of the country, effective from November 1.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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