Today e-commerce giant Amazon announced the company will raise its starting wage to $15 an hour for all full-time, part-time, and contract employees beginning November 1, 2018. In response, Jobs With Justice co-Executive Directors Sarita Gupta and Erica Smiley released the following statement:
“This announcement comes after months and years of advocates, politicians and Amazon employees asking the same question: how can Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, keep so many working people in poverty?
Jobs With Justice welcomes this news, but the wage increase is just one step forward. Amazon warehouse employees still face grueling work demands, which create safety hazards and too often lead to chronic health problems. A higher minimum wage doesn’t ensure employees have consistent hours or receive decent benefits, and Amazon continues to stifle employees’ freedom to join together in union in its warehouses and at Whole Foods stores. And today’s announcement shouldn’t come at the cost of any existing accessible workplace benefits Amazon offers its employees.
Furthermore, despite its status as the second wealthiest publicly-traded corporation in the United States, Amazon is still a top recipient of taxpayer-funded corporate incentive packages that the company encourages states, cities and other communities to propose to attract new distribution centers and its proposed second headquarters.
Today’s announcement is a reminder of what is possible when our movement can unite together to pressure powerful corporations to make change. Jobs With Justice will continue that work until Amazon, and every corporation, treats all working people with the respect and dignity they deserve.”