Retail giant Amazon said today that it is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all US workers.
"With the Trump administration having previously taken aim at Bezos and Amazon, they need to be proactive to position themselves positively in the court of public opinion", said Tom Gimble, CEO of recruiting firm LaSalle Network. The change applies to all "full-time, part-time, temporary (including those hired by agencies), and seasonal employees" who are based in the US.
Last month, Amazon said that the average hourly wage for a full-time associate in its fulfillment centers was already more than $15 per hour.
Target announced earlier this year that it would raise its minimum wage to $12 an hour with a plan to increase it to $15 by 2020.
Amazon has raised the pay of thousands of workers in the United Kingdom and U.S., after coming under increasing fire from campaigners over its low wages. "And that is that Mr. Bezos today did the right thing".
The issue of low pay at Amazon was highlighted when investigations found multiple cases where workers were taking home less than the minimum wage after paying for essential expenses.
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Amazon said it doesn't expect to raise prices for its products to pay for the wage increases.
Amazon announced that all its USA workers will get a raise to $15 from as low as $10 per hour.
Pay for workers at Amazon can vary by location. 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.
"We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage".
Amazon shares, trading lower before the company announced the wage hike, were down less than 0.3 percent at $1,997.75 in trading before the bell.
Amazon had been under sustained pressure over the amount it paid some of its workers as its CEO became the world's richest person. It has faced stinging criticism of its labour practices, including grueling working conditions and lack of job security. "Mr. Bezos and Amazon are now leading the way".
"Amazon is proud to have created over 130,000 new jobs previous year alone", the Amazon blog post said in August. "Even if it's rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero", he wrote.