Amazon says it will pay all its US workers at least $15.
Amazon says it is offering raises to all hourly employees in its US warehouses and call centers, a move that follows criticism of the pay and working conditions for the retail giant's lowest-paid workers. "We're excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us".
The plight of those workers has been a public relations headache for the company for years, with media reports regularly finding grueling working conditions.
"We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage". Amazon employs over 575,000 people worldwide.
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After the $28,446 figure drew criticism from Sen. Bernie Sanders last month introduced legislation called the Bezos Act to tax corporations for every dollar that their low-wage workers receive in government health-care benefits or food stamps. That's happened while the e-commerce giant's market value has surged to just under $1 trillion and Bezos has become the world's richest person. Bezos is listed by Forbes as the world's richest man with a net worth of almost $150 billion. The new wage will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees, plus over 100,000 seasonal employees who will be hired for the holidays.
The federally mandated minimum pay hasn't risen since 2009.
The company didn't say how many workers were making less than $15 an hour. And in that time, the rate "has lost about 9.6 percent of its purchasing power to inflation", the Pew Research Center said a year ago.
The company, which bought Whole Foods Market in a $13.7 billion deal a year ago, 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. But in two states (Georgia and Wyoming), it's lower, at $5.15.
Amazon is among the largest employers in the United States, and it has added more American jobs in the past decade than any other company.