Amazon finally made the move to increase hourly wages for its workers to $15/hr. So why are some employees upset?
Amazon SVP of Operations Dave Clark recently announced that all its workers would make a minimum hourly wage of $15/hr, and this has been a long time coming.
Amazon warehouse workers have long demanded better pay, and decreased pressure to make what’s known as “rate,” a pre-established quota that often results in workers being afraid to go to the bathroom for fear of losing their jobs. While at the same time, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has become the richest person to ever live.
Senator Bernie Sanders was a major proponent of Amazon changing its tune, even introducing legislation that would tax corporations whose workers were on government assistance, and he initially praised the move.
But not all Amazon employees are happy. CNBC reported that some employees could actually make less money now, since the company is also getting rid of monthly bonuses and stock awards.
The New York Times spoke to several people upset about the move. Katy Iber, who works the night shift at an Amazon Warehouse in Minneapolis, says her monthly bonus would be between $1.28 and $2.50 per hour, more than the $1 an hour raise in base pay she’s getting.
So employees are going to have a more reliable increase in their daily pay, but any bonuses they get, including holiday bonuses that can be substantial, are now gone.
It seems like Amazon is trying to earn praise for doing right by their workers, while also using worker pay to offset the cost.
And in case you’re curious, Amazon had second-quarter profits this year of two billion dollars. Of course, you can’t even really blame Amazon too much. After all, it’s a corporation, not a person with a conscience, whose only purpose is to turn the largest profit possible.
But the human beings who run Amazon, who do presumably have consciences, could let their employees unionize and fight for better conditions, considering that they’re the biggest retailer in the country, with a higher value than Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, JC Penney and Sears combined.
Sigh….but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
So in response to the backlash, Sanders has sent a letter to Amazon, asking how its long-time employees who previously received stock incentives would be affected.
A counterpoint to all this is that Amazon publicly raising its minimum wage to $15/hr is a big deal which could encourage other large corporations, like Walmart and McDonald’s, to follow suit. That would go a long way toward making up for how wages have not kept up with inflation.
Here’s a quick rant about that!
In 1979, the federal minimum wage was $2.90. Today, it’s $7.25. But $7.25 today actually has less buying power than $2.90 did in 1979. Because of increasing demands by American companies, worker productivity has more than doubled in the last 40 years, but Americans aren’t making double the money. In fact, accounting for inflation, we’re making less. And the top 1%? Well, you know how they’ve been doing.
Kind of puts a damper on all those low-unemployment/the-economy’s-so-great speeches.
And look, when you talk to people who are making minimum wage and living in cities, which are always getting more expensive, they’ll tell you that even $15/hr isn’t enough to live on.
It’s that simple. Everything’s getting more expensive…and none of us are making enough money to keep up. I mean, look at this video one more time and think about what’s happening here:
Shared the new Amazon $15 minimum wage with the team here at LGB3 early this morning! Best All Hands Ever!!! 👊😃 pic.twitter.com/RqkvHQuomO
— Dave Clark (@davehclark) October 2, 2018
Things have gotten so bad in America, that workers are actually applauding a man who makes millions of dollars, because he’s graciously giving an hourly salary that can barely purchase a burger at Chili’s anymore, let alone health care, rent, the best cheap car insurance we can find, the phone bill, the damn child care.
What do you think the minimum wage should be? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending>/a>