Amazon.com announced Tuesday it will raise its minimum wage for all employees to $ 15 an hour after the tech giant has criticized its payroll workers.  The salary increase affects 250,000 Amazon employees and 100,000 seasonal workers hired at Amazon locations during the holiday season. Affected are full-time and part-time employees as well as employees of Whole Foods Market, which will enter into force on November 1st.
"We listened to our critics think carefully about what we wanted to do and decided that we wanted to lead," Amazon boss Jeffrey P. Bezos said in a statement. "We are excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other big employers to join us."
Bezos also owns the Washington Post.
Amazon has been criticized over the years because of poor working conditions at its warehouse hubs, which the company has set up nationwide for fast delivery of online purchases.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Recently cleared Amazon and said the company does not pay a "living wage" and leaves some dependent on safety net programs like food stamps and Medicaid. He attacked Bezos, the richest person in the world, and instituted laws calling for the "BEZOS stop" to tax Amazon and other large employers to offset the cost of public services for employees.
Amazon contradicted the criticism.
In his announcement Tuesday, Amazon said it would push for an increase in the federal minimum wage that has been $ 7.25 for a decade. The online giant is behind Walmart the second largest private employer in the country. Last month, it became the country's second listed company valued at more than $ 1 trillion.
"We will work to get Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage, and the current $ 7.25 rate was set almost a decade ago," said Jay Carney, senior vice president of global corporate affairs at the company. "We want to work for a minimum wage increase that will have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people and families in this country."
The Obama administration has called for an increase in the minimum wage to $ 10.10. The proposal did not proceed during a divided reign. Many business groups and conservatives argue that $ 15 per hour is too high, especially in locations outside the urban centers, where the cost of living is lower.
Other companies have also raised wages, especially in this tight labor market. Target announced earlier this year that it would raise its minimum wage to $ 12 an hour, with a plan to raise it to $ 15 by 2020. Walmart raised his minimum wage to $ 11 in January. Facebook also raised its minimum wage for its contract workers – janitors, food service workers, and other similar employees – to $ 15 an hour, while Costco now pays $ 14 an hour.
Amazon said on Tuesday that all employees, including those earning $ 15 an hour, will receive wage increases as a result of its new policy. Last week, the Post reported that Amazon had begun ramping up staff from 25 cents to 55 cents an hour across its fulfillment centers nationwide. The average Amazon worker was paid last year, according to the company $ 28,446, which is about $ 13.68 per hour.
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