Amazon just announced that it will be raising its minimum wage for all U.S. workers to $15 an hour, effective November 1.
The policy will cover employees at Amazon subsidiaries, including Whole Foods, and well as seasonal and temporary employees. Amazon says that in total, this will cover 250,000 employees, plus 100,000 seasonal employees.
This comes as Amazon is facing increasing scrutiny over how its workers are treated and paid. Senator Bernie Sanders, for example, recently introduced legislation to end what he calls “corporate welfare” — and it’s pretty clear who he had in mind, since the bill was titled Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies (BEZOS).
Meanwhile, a group of Whole Foods workers have been pushing to unionize, with demands that included a $15 minimum wage.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in the announcement. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”
Amazon says its existing benefits will not change, except that its RSU stock grant program will be phased out for hourly fulfillment and customer service employees and replaced with a direct stock purchase plan, supposedly because those employees “prefer the predictability and immediacy of cash to RSUs.”
In addition, the company also pledges its public policy team will lobby for an increase to the federal minimum wage from $7.25 — it doesn’t identify a specific wage that it’s targeting, but instead says, “We believe $7.25 is too low. We would look to Congress to decide the parameters of a new, higher federal minimum wage.”
What Mr. Bezos has done today is not only enormously important for Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of employees, it could well be a shot heard around the world. I urge corporate leaders around the country to follow Mr. Bezos' lead. https://t.co/06wIAHunPq
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 2, 2018
Shared the new Amazon $15 minimum wage with the team here at LGB3 early this morning! Best All Hands Ever!!! pic.twitter.com/RqkvHQuomO
— Dave Clark (@davehclark) October 2, 2018