Amazon to raise minimum wage to $15 for US employees

"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead", said CEO Jeff Bezos. Washington state has the highest minimum wage in the country at $11.50 per hour, and Seattle, like New York City, has implemented a $15 minimum.

Amazon's public policy team will also begin advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage.

Amazon's employment practices, especially for those working on the company's numerous front lines, have frequently been criticized.

Retailer Target Corp raised its minimum hourly wage last year to $11 and promised to raise it to $15 an hour by the end of 2020 while the world's largest retailer and private employer Walmart raised its minimum wage to $11 an hour earlier this year. Amazon purchased Austin-based Whole Foods in June 2017.

Amazon has recently been targeted over its pay by Senator Bernie Sanders, who last month introduced a less-than-subtly-named piece of legislation called the Stop Bad Employers by Zering Out Subsidies-"Stop BEZOS"-Act". The median salary Amazon pays its workers is $28,446, well below other tech titans who mostly employ higher-paying software engineers.

All hourly US employees in operations and customer service jobs, including those who made more than $15 an hour, would receive a pay bump in November, a spokeswoman said.

Workers across the country have pushed for a $15 minimum wage as they have drawn attention to growing income inequality.

"The current rate of $7.25 was set almost a decade ago", said Jay Carney, senior vice president of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs, in the statement.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said Tuesday that while Amazon's wage hike is a politically savvy move, it's also a change made out of economic necessity.

On Tuesday, fast food workers in MI are going to kick off a series of protests in the Midwest and elsewhere around the country in support of unions and a $15 minimum age.

The company's new United Kingdom minimum wage exceeds a so-called London Living Wage of 10.20 pounds that some British businesses have adopted. With a healthy USA economy, Americans looking for work have an increasing number of job options, so Amazon has to find ways to entice people to join its company.

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