Amazon to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 for U.S. Workers

Company CEO Jeff Bezos is finally giving workers what they want

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Amazon announced on Tuesday that it would be raising its minimum wage to $15 from approximately $13 an hour last year. Jeff Bezos, the company’s CEO and the richest man in the world, is giving thousands of workers a pay raise after he received multiple complaints about Amazon’s harsh working conditions. The contract will go into effect on November 1st.

CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos. Photo from NBC News.

In the same announcement, Amazon also stated that it was going to begin lobbying Congress to increase the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

The shift to online shopping led by Amazon has caused some traditional retailers like Toys R Us and Sears to shut down or lay off workers. According to The New York Times, President Trump has criticized the company and others have called for it to be broken up. However, the wage raise will help Amazon fix its bad reputation.

Amazon’s wage increase will positively impact the lives of over 250,000 Amazon workers (including those at Whole Foods) and 100,000 seasonal workers. It will also alleviate pressure from politicians like Bernie Sanders, who attacked Amazon and other companies for allowing their workers to rely on public benefits like food stamps. These wages will also help Amazon attract workers during the  holiday shopping season, which Amazon has dominated in recent years. The company now employs about 575,000 people worldwide.

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Amazon is marketing itself as a leader in increasing how much it pays its workers, but the company is actually not the first large corporation to raise wages. According to Wired, Costco has begun to raise its minimum wage to $14, and Target is phasing in a $15 minimum wage by 2020.

Amazon is also expected to reveal the location of its second headquarters by the end of this year. In turn, it is believed that the company will receive a government incentive deal from the city it picks in return for bringing thousands of jobs to the area.

Amazon’s decision to increase wages coincides with the issues Americans face in today’s economy. After the 2008 stock market recession, the prices of stocks have risen, but employee wages have not. Additionally, the federal minimum wage has not been changed in over a decade. However, it seems that companies are starting to be held responsible for closing the gap between the rich and poor, which is larger than ever. While Amazon’s pay raise will benefit the company, it will also help close the economic divide.