Amazon will now pay $15 minimum wage across the US

Oct 2, 2018, 7:19 AM | Updated: 12:35 pm

Amazon will begin paying all its US employees a minimum wage of $15 an hour starting Nov. 1, a move that will affect more than 350,000 workers.

The online retailer made the announcement Tuesday.

“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” said CEO and founder Jeff Bezos in a statement. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”

The wage increase breaks down to 250,000 regular workers, as well as more than 100,000 seasonal employees. The increase will echo through companies owned by Amazon, such as Whole Foods. People already earning $15 will also get a bump.

Beyond the company, Amazon says that its public policy team will start advocating for increasing the federal minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25. The company would not state what the federal minimum wage should be, saying Congress should decide that number.

Amazon is now among a handful of large retail companies that have upped their wages. Target is aiming to pay at least $15 to every employee by 2020. Walmart raised its starting wages to $11 per hour this year.

The Amazon image

The wage hikes come amid a range of criticism of the company, whose CEO Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world. Amazon is among the most successful companies on the planet. It became the second publicly-traded company to be worth more than $1 trillion in September.

Yet Amazon is included on a list of Washington employers with the most employees using SNAP (food stamps). Also on that list are Starbucks, Walmart, McDonald’s, Goodwill, and Safeway. About 2.7 percent of Amazon’s Washington employees report using food stamps (1,366 out of 50,000).

The company has also been targeted by lawmakers such as Bernie Sanders, who recently introduced the “Stop BEZOS Act,” which stands for “Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies.” The act is named after Amazon’s CEO, but will affect any large company that has significant numbers of employees relying on government assistance, such as food stamps, housing, or Medicaid.

“Specifically, this bill would establish a 100 percent tax on corporations with 500 or more employees, equal to the amount of federal benefits received by their low-wage workers,” Sanders said in September.

In its hometown of Seattle, lawmakers passed — then repealed — an “Amazon Tax,” that targeted local large companies in an attempt to fund affordable housing. The Seattle region faces homelessness and affordability crises as Amazon — and other tech companies — continue to boom, adding highly-paid workers from out of town, driving up costs of living.

CEO Bezos has countered a lot of criticism recently by starting a new charitable fund — using $2 billion of his own money. The Bezos Day 1 Fund will aid non-profits that help homeless families. It will also create a network of new, non-profit, tier-one preschools in low-income communities.

Information from the Associated Press contributed to this article.

Local News

unemployment benefits...
Nicole Jennings

People quitting over vax mandate may qualify for unemployment benefits

Do people quitting their jobs over the vaccine mandate qualify for unemployment benefits? That all depends on a certain set of circumstances.
20 hours ago
covid memorial...
MyNorthwest Staff

King County councilmember proposes memorial for lives lost to COVID

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is proposing the creation of a public art memorial to honor those who lost their lives to COVID-19. 
20 hours ago
Kathryn Altena

Washington to participate in Great ShakeOut earthquake drill for 10th year

At 10:21 a.m. on Oct. 21 will be the annual Great ShakeOut earthquake and tsunami drill in Washington. Practice how you would drop, cover, and hold on.
20 hours ago
King County Metro...
Nick Bowman

King County reports 97% compliance with worker vaccine mandate

King County reported Tuesday that 97% of its employees have submitted paperwork in compliance with its vaccine mandate; 92% are fully vaccinated. 
20 hours ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Heavy rain, wind from tropical ‘superstorm’ headed to Northwest

A cyclone that began as a tropical superstorm is expected to reach waters off the coast of Washington state on Thursday.
20 hours ago
City Hall Park Seattle...
Nick Bowman

King County Council to forge ahead on bid to acquire troubled City Hall Park

King County Councilmembers voted 7-2 on Tuesday to approve legislation to explore options to assume control over Seattle's City Hall Park.
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Amazon will now pay $15 minimum wage across the US