Amazon announced today that it is increasing its minimum wage to $15 per hour for all of its workers in the US. This pay increase also includes part-time workers and contractors hired through temporary agencies. And Amazon plans to lobby in Washington to raise the federal minimum wage in order to help those who are struggling financially.
The new wages are going to apply to more than 250,000 Amazon employees, which includes workers at Whole Foods. The new minimum wage will go into effect on November 1st, according to The New York Times.
Amazon has been facing pressure from both major political parties about its wages especially at its fulfillment centers and with contract drivers who make last-mile deliveries. And several workers at Whole Foods recently considered organizing a union.
Senator Bernie Sanders has been especially vocal about the wages and pointed out that the median pay at the company is $28,446. Amazon said that Senator Sanders’ assertions were incorrect and said that the median pay for its full-time employees in the US was actually $34,123.
“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,” added 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.”
This news comes on the heels of Amazon’s market capitalization surpassing $1 trillion last month. And the stock growth propelled the net worth of founder and CEO Jeff Bezos to $165 billion, making him the richest man in the world.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” said Bezos in a statement. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”
Dave Clark, a senior vice president of operations at Amazon, posted a video on Twitter of employees at a fulfillment center in Southern California after the news was announced:
Amazon is also planning to announce the location of its second headquarters location before the end of the year. At that location, Amazon plans to hire 50,000 workers. Local government agencies have been campaigning Amazon with video pitches and tax break offers as a bid for the second headquarters location.