Published: Wed, October 03, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

Amazon Raises Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour for All Employees

Amazon Raises Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour for All Employees

In Amazon's statement Tuesday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said that the company listened to critics and "decided we want to lead".

Amazon is encouraging other large USA employers to follow its lead and said it would lobby lawmakers for an increase in the federal minimum wage, now at only $7.25.

In a 2015 article in The New York Times, employees described a "soulless, dystopian" work environment.

The new minimum wage also will apply to employees at high-end grocery store chain Whole Foods, which Amazon acquired previous year. "Having major, profitable employers like Amazon join the fight could help finally unstick it", Executive Director Christine Owens said in a statement.

Amazon opened a 2.4-million-square-foot warehouse south of Orlando International Airport in August and has been furiously hiring workers to get to its 1,500 employee goal.

The decision also raises the stakes for potential workers at Amazon's so-called HQ2 competition - its plan to create a second headquarters, with as many as 50,000 jobs.

The company, which bought Whole Foods Market in a $13.7 billion deal previous year, opened a general store in New York City in September after launching a few small grocery shops known as Amazon Go in Seattle and Chicago.

The retail giant has faced criticism for not paying its workers enough, especially in light of Bezos' enormous wealth: he's now considered the richest person in the world with a net worth of about $165 billion. Bezos also recently passed the $100 billion mark in net worth and now, by most estimations, is the world's wealthiest man.

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They have suggested at least two dozen people they say should be interviewed before the FBI wraps up its investigation. Democrats have requested copies of all the FBI's witness interviews, and the names of any who decline to co-operate.

Mr Sanders credited Amazon on Tuesday for doing the "right thing" and called on other corporations in fast food, airlines and retail industries to follow the retailer in raising wages.

Whatever the economic impact, minimum wage increases are popular with Americans. According to Amazon's most recent year-end report, the company employed 566,000 employees, not counting employees at subsidiary companies.

Sanders praised the company after engaging in a longstanding war of words with Amazon over employee pay and other labor practices. The labour market is also tightening as the U.S. heads into the holiday season, which could naturally inflate wages.

Last month, Amazon said that the average hourly wage for a full-time associate in its fulfillment centers was already more than $15 per hour. The median salary Amazon pays its workers is $28,446, well below other tech titans who mostly employ higher-paying software engineers. That comes to $13.68 an hour. The company noted that the figure includes global and part-time employees.

Amazon also raised its minimum wage in Britain to 10.50 pounds ($19) 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.

Amazon has announced it is raising its minimum wage in the USA to $15, following sustained pressure from Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders.

In addition to committing to higher minimum pay, Amazon says it will "work with policymakers in Washington, D.C., to advocate for a higher federal minimum wage".

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