Amazon Bows to Critics, Raises Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour
After months of intense public pressure from progressive lawmakers like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and company employees who shared their harrowing stories of low pay, long hours, and brutal warehouse conditions, Amazon announced on Tuesday that it is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all of its U.S. workers by next month.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” Amazon CEO and world’s richest man Jeff Bezos said in a statement, openly acknowledging that the move came in response to widespread outrage over the trillion-dollar company’s poverty wages, which have forced thousands of workers to rely on food stamps to survive.
While Bezos insisted that Amazon is “excited” to implement the wage hike—which will benefit more than 350,000 full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers—commentators were quick to note that the ultra-billionaire CEO is not raising wages out of the kindness of his heart.
“Amazon isn’t doing this because they’re nice,” investigative journalist Ken Klippenstein noted in response to Amazon’s announcement of the wage hikes, which will go into effect Nov. 1. “Public pressure forced them to.”
Thank you @BernieSanders for your role in making this happen. “The company said Tuesday the wage hike will benefit more than 350,000 workers, which includes full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal positions.”https://t.co/fOkyRqFyl5
— Justice Democrats (@justicedems) October 2, 2018
Remember all the mockery Bernie Sanders got for fighting with Amazon?
There’s more to progressive politics than just shouting at Trump, and Sanders is directly responsible today for a major wage victory against an enormously powerful employer. https://t.co/ndm1PVKnZp
— David Atkins #11Justices (@DavidOAtkins) October 2, 2018
This is huge, and I suspect the decision’s driver was primarily a scruffy-haired Senator from Vermont. https://t.co/xRLWPbmgj7
— Stephanie Kelton (@StephanieKelton) October 2, 2018
While progressives were quick to highlight Sanders’ role in bringing about the wage hikes—the senator has hosted town halls, held rallies, and introduced legislation to pressure Amazon to pay its employees a living wage—Sanders told the HuffPost in an interview ahead of Tuesday’s announcement that all credit for higher pay and better conditions should go to workers.
“I think the workers have stood up and fought back,” Sanders said. “What we have done is call attention to the fact that it is a disgrace that the wealthiest person in this country and in this world are paying wages so low that workers are forced to go on food stamps and Medicaid.”
“I think the pressure is building not only on Bezos and Amazon but every other employer in America: Pay your workers a living wage, at least 15 bucks an hour,” Sanders concluded.WAIT, BEFORE YOU GO…
If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.
Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.