Amazon Raises Its Minimum Wage to $15

The company also said that it will lobby Congress to increase the federal floor.

Chris Radburn/PA Wire via ZUMA Press

After mounting pressure in recent months over the company’s working conditions, Amazon announced today it would raise the minimum wage for all its warehouse workers to $15 an hour starting next month. The raise in wages will effect its 250,000 full and part-time warehouse workers as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees to be hired in upcoming months.

The company has been under increased political pressure in recent months. In September, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the BEZOS Act, which would require large employers, such as Amazon and Walmart, to pay a corporate tax equal to 100 percent of the federal benefits, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid, received by their employees. At the time, Amazon responded to the Sander’s claims by stating that the average hourly wage for a full-time warehouse associate was “well over $15/hour before overtime.”

“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO, said in a press release. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”

The company also announced Tuesday that it would lobby for an increased federal minimum wage. “We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. The current rate of $7.25 was set nearly a decade ago,” said Jay Carney, senior vice president of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs and former Obama press secretary. In 2017, the company spent nearly $13 million in lobbying and is set to outpace that number in 2018. 

Sanders express his support of the decision in a press conference on Wednesday. “What Mr. Bezos today has done is not only important to Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of employees, it could well be…a shot heard around the world,” Sanders told reporters. He added that there was “no reason” now why profitable corporations like Walmart should not follow suit, and that he looked forward to working with Bezos on these policy issues.

But today’s news isn’t a ceasefire for labor advocates, who have still scrutinized the company in light of its resistance to unionization efforts by employees of Whole Foods, which the company acquired in 2017. The company has also been scrutinized for working conditions in its warehouses, which have been been the subject of numerous citations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, including an investigation into the 2016 death of a worker at one of its Pennsylvania warehouses.

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate