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Amazon Is Raising Its Minimum Wage To $15 for All US Employees

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Amazon announced on Tuesday that its increasing its minimum wage to $15 per hour for all full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees across the U.S., effective November 1. The pay increase will affect 250,000 Amazon employees and 100,000 seasonal workers during the holiday season. Whole Foods Market employees will also receive the newly minted wage. 

"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do and decided we want to lead," Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said in a statement. "We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us."

According to The Washington Post, Amazon has faced "harsh criticism" for its wages in the past. The average worker made around $28,446 last year, which translated to about $13.68 an hour. Just last month, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill called the "Stop BEZOS Act" which set out to require Amazon and other large employers to cover the costs of food, stamps, public house, Medicaid, and other federal assistance received by employees. Sanders said that Amazon doesn't pay its employees a "living wage,"— despite Bezos being the richest person in the world — leaving them dependent on these assistance programs. 

On Tuesday, Sanders praised Amazon's pay raises. "Today I want to give credit where credit is due, and that is that Mr. Bezos and Amazon have done the right thing," he said. "This is a significant step forward for many thousands of Amazon employees."

Sanders continued, "Not only does this make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Amazon employees, it also sends a message to the fast food industry, the airline industry and the retail industry in general that the time is now to begin paying workers a living wage."

Bezos thanked Sanders on Twitter, adding that he "hopes others will join in." In Amazon's announcement, the company said it would begin advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage, which has been $7.25 for more than 10 years. 

"We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. The current rate of $7.25 was set nearly a decade ago," said Jay Carney, Senior Vice President of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs. "We intend to advocate for a minimum wage increase that will have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people and families across this country."

Amazon is currently the country's second-largest private employer. 


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