Amazon has made the announcement that it would be spending close to one billion dollars to improve salaries for hourly employees in the United States. This comes amid criticism of Amazon’s labor policies as well as a heated labor dispute. As a result of the wage hike, the beginning rate for the vast majority of front-line personnel in warehouses and transportation will climb to more than $19 per hour, while compensation in fulfilment and elsewhere will rise to $16 per hour. The minimum pay will continue to be set at $15 per hour throughout the organization.
In addition, Amazon is making its “Anytime Salary” program available to all of its workers. This program enables workers to receive up to 70 percent of their pay that is eligible at any time, free of charge, rather than the once or twice a month that is customary. In addition to this, it launched a brand new development program that provides staff with the opportunity to move to engineering jobs after completing training that lasts for 12 to 14 months.
With a total workforce of over 1.5 million employees, Amazon is the second biggest employer in the United States, behind only Walmart. The vast majority of them are hourly workers in distribution centers or delivery, as well as retail employees at Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh. The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States reports that the average hourly wage in the United States is $32.36, while the average hourly wage in the category of “transportation and warehousing” is $28.10.
Amazon was unsuccessful in its first attempt to petition for a re-vote after more than 8,000 employees at a plant on Staten Island voted in April of this year to unionize. In addition to this, a House committee is investigating a fatal warehouse collapse that occurred during a storm and resulted in the deaths of six employees. The investigation was said to have been “obstructed” by the panel in June of last year when Amazon was accused of delaying to give over vital papers linked to an internal inquiry.