Amazon Raises Minimum Wage to $15 for Entire U.S. Workforce
Following mounting political and public pressure, Amazon announced a major shift in how it pays employees. In a press release published Tuesday morning, the company said it was raising its minimum wage to $15 across the board for all U.S. employees, including full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees. The decision will impact some 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees who will be hired at Amazon sites during the holiday season, the company said.
The decision to set a “living wage” minimum wage came after weeks (if not years, really) of criticism the company has received over how much it pays employees. Last month, that pressure turned political when U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a tax bill that would require businesses with more than 500 employees to pay a 100 percent tax on federal assistance received by their employees. A Washington Post report at the time that bill was announced found that “thousands” of Amazon employees rely on the federal government’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) in order to make ends meet.
In presenting the bill, Sanders said his goal was twofold: to force large corporation like Amazon to pay a living wage and to curb some $150 billion per year in taxpayer dollars that are spent on federal assistance programs for low-wage workers.