Bernie Sanders must be dancing a happy dance today. Early this morning Amazon announced that it is increasing its hourly minimum wage to $15 per hour for all full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees across the United States. A higher minimum wage has been one of Senator Sanders’ primary policy proposals for many years.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” Jeff Bezos, Amazon‘s founder and CEO, said in a statement.
“We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us,” he added. The new hourly minimum wage rate is scheduled to take effect on November 1 and will benefit the more than 250,000 employees working at the retail giant. It will also benefit over 100,000 seasonal employees who will be hired at Amazon sites across the country during the upcoming holiday season.
In addition, the company announced that the Amazon public policy team will now start to advocate throughout the country for an immediate increase in the federal minimum wage.
“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 was also proud to announce that its corporate benefits package for its employees is the best in its industry. According to the statement, Amazon employees receive:
- Comprehensive healthcare, including medical, dental, and vision coverage</li>
- Company-paid life and disability insurance
- Up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave>
- 401k matching contributions
- Career Choice, which pre-pays 95% of associates’ tuition for courses in high-demand fields, whether those jobs are at Amazon or another company
- Career Skills, which trains hourly associates in critical job skills like resume writing, how to communicate effectively, and computer basics
Amazon has been under public pressure in Washington, and has even been attacked by President Donald Trump.> This latest announcement is a great public relations move for the company, and is sure to deflect public criticism as it becomes a national leader in the push for the $15 minimum wage.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.