Amazon bumps minimum wage to $15 an hour

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Amazon has announced that it will raise its hourly minimum wage to $15. There are now 250,000 people that work for Amazon with plans to hire another 100,000 for the upcoming holiday season.

More recently, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has lashed out at Amazon, saying the company does not pay a "living wage" and leaves some dependent on safety-net programs such as food stamps and Medicaid.

Bezos also thanked Sanders for his words of support, noting that Amazon is "excited about this, and also [hopes] others will join in".

Amazon has announced it is raising its minimum wage in the USA to $15, following sustained pressure from Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders.

Amazon has faced criticism from labour rights groups and others over pay and working conditions at its warehouses.

An advocate for higher minimum wages, Conti added that Amazon would likely benefit if $15 an hour became the new baseline.

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Sanders said he looks forward to working with Bezos on federal minimum wage legislation. The Illinois minimum wage is $8.25 an hour.

That has included several fatalities, including one in 2013 when a conveyer system crushed a temporary worker in a New Jersey warehouse, according to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Last month, Sanders introduced the "Stop BEZOS Act", which would have required large employers like Amazon to pay taxes on workers receiving federal assistance.

"This will impact more than 37,000 employees across the country, resulting in higher pay for them and their families". According to Senior Vice President of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs Jay Carney, the company will "be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage", which is now $7.25 an hour.

Jeff Bezos is no stranger to criticism, but raising the minimum wage across the board for his organization quieted some of the nay-sayers.

Most workers at Amazon's United Kingdom warehouses now receive £8 an hour, dependent on their location.

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The company, whose value topped $1 trillion briefly in September, was facing political and economic pressure to raise pay for thousands of employees. If Amazon was contemplating minimum wage changes when Sanders made waves, there was no need for Amazon to push back so hard against him.

Earlier this year, Target increased its minimum wage for employees to US$12, with plans to raise it to US$15 by 2020.

In its announcement Tuesday, Amazon said it would lobby for an increase in the federal minimum wage, which has been $7.25 for a decade.

"We believe $7.25 is too low". At the time, Bezos said the story "doesn't describe the Amazon I know".

Amazon, which became the second company after Apple to cross $1 trillion in market value last month, paid its US employees on average $34,123 a year ago. "Mr. Bezos and Amazon are now leading the way but there is absolutely no reason why other profitable corporations, like Walmart, like the fast food industry, like retail in general, and other employers, no reason now why they also should not be paying their employees at least $15 an hour".

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