Amazon Raises their Minimum Wages to $15 in the U.S.

By Lily Waterman, Assistant Sophomore Editor

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Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is in the process of raising all U.S. worker’s minimum wages to $15 an hour by this November due to political criticism. This action applies to part-time workers, temporary agency workers, and seasoned workers, affecting nearly 250,000 employees.

The new salaries also put pressure on federal minimum wages to increase, which is currently at $7.25 for the past ten years, and an honorable attempt at addressing America’s wealth gap. Amazon’s jobs have also skyrocketed 50% since last year, to 575,000 employees worldwide. The Chief Executive Officer of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is now officially the wealthiest man in the world with $165 billion net worth.

The “Fight for $15” union campaign orchestrates strikes in various states for industry workers’ to demand unions, and they pushed the $15 minimum wage in numerous companies. California and New York, a couple of Amazon’s biggest markets, already passed $15 wages.

Bernie Sanders has recently implemented the Bezos Act, new legislation to tax corporations for each payment low-wage workers receive in government food stamps and health-care benefits.

His comment on this issue states, “What Mr. Bezos has done today is not only enormously important for Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of employees, it could well be, and I think it will be, a shot heard around the world.”

Amazon itself has also become more efficient and cost-effective with the addition of robots and Amazon Go, convenience stores with few employees. However, as the Holiday season approaches, there is a high demand for temporary workers, but with the U.S. unemployment rate being 4%, workers are harder to employ.

On the other hand, the increase worldwide in wages needs to be recompensated for the company continue to make generous profits. Amazon will no longer be giving out new stock grants or monthly bonuses, causing some workers to lose thousands a year. For example, any people working with above $15 an hour already will ultimately lose money because their raise will be insignificant compared to their previous Amazon stock opportunities.

Sophomore Sam Baghal states, “I think it’s about time a company as big as Amazon has taken the initiative to raise their wages. It’s definitely a step in the right direction in addressing America’s large wealth gap. Also, I think it can help encourage other well-known corporations and competitors to do the same, thus helping improve labor conditions for the nation’s working class. However, it could be detrimental towards working conditions, and it can cause workers to lose significant sources of income.”

Amazon’s decision is not only great for the workers, but it also gives the company more publicity and forces competitors to raise their wages as well. Although the wage increase is a positive step, many still criticize Amazon for not giving more worker’s full-time jobs and production pressure conditions.

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