Bernie Sanders praises Amazon's minimum wage hike

Ann Santiago
October 3, 2018

The authors stress that, while they can identify workers exiting minimum wage status, they cannot assess the extent to which those individuals are also exiting low-paid employment.

Amazon employs more than 1,000 people at its fulfilment centre in Kingston Park, in Fletton.

Like several of the big USA tech firms, Amazon is also facing increased official scrutiny over how much tax it pays.

Amazon's pay varies by location, so the increase could be between $3 and $5 an hour, depending on the state. The change will affect more than 250,000 Amazon employees and 100,000 seasonal employees.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we looked at how many hourly workers in each state earn the minimum wage or less.

"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", said Sanders in a statement. One of its harshest critics is Vermont Sen. The company has been under fire from critics-notably Bernie Sanders-for making a fortune while paying its warehouse workers so little that they often need federal assistance, notes CNN.

But pressure from activists like the Fight for 15 movement, workers, and politicians have turned the heat up under the company to rectify the discrepancy between worker treatment and company profitability. "I'm in favour of higher wages", he told reporters said. The critiques of Amazon as a Dickensian sweatshop for warehouse workers aren't new, but Amazon's growing size and power do make it more exposed to the impression that it's a corporate villain perched atop an army of low-wage workers. Any small businesses that compete with larger companies by providing better service rather than by matching every price cut should also manage fine, she said.

Despite its domination, Amazon shares one potential hurdle that is growing higher for nearly all employers big and small: a tightening labour market. The most recent statistics from the U.S. Labor Department showed that in August, the pace of hiring rose again and wages grew at their fastest pace in nine years. This past spring, it raised its starting hourly pay for its workers to $12.

The increase also applies to all Amazon subsidiaries, like Whole Foods.

Amazon said it doesn't expect to raise prices for its products to pay for the wage increases.

"The crisis in warehouse and shipping personnel is very real, and there's going to have to be a meaningful increase in wages to attract and increase talent", said Steve Barr, consumer markets leader at PwC. Carney previously served as President Barack Obama's White House Press Secretary. Amazon won't ask Congress to raise the minimum to a specific number.

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