Last week, Amazon addressed growing backlash against unfair warehouse wages by announcing plans to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour. The news was largely lauded as a positive step by critics including Senator Bernie Sanders, who had helped push the company in that direction with strongly worded legislation.
The move was still met with criticism by some, including Amazon workers who noted that, along with the wage increase, the retail giant would also be removing bonuses and stock grants. Employees vocalized their concern, causing Amazon to further address the move. The company sent a letter to Sanders insisting that employees would still come out on top.
“Again, all hourly operations and customer service employees will see an increase in their base pay, as well as in their total compensation,” Amazon SVP Jay Carney said in the letter, obtained by the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post. “We are also proud to continue to provide our industry-leading benefits, including comprehensive healthcare, up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave and our Career Choice program, which pre-pays 95 percent of associates’ tuition for courses in high-demand fields.”
The letter does on to explain that the the increase in wages “more than compensates” for the workers’ loss of benefit. Of course, the impact on individual workers is dependent on a number of factors, including how much they made prior to the increase. Those making, say, $14 an hour prior to the increase may only receive a $1 raise, which fails to make up for the loss of benefits.
The move appears to have a larger averse impact on long time employees of the company, though Amazon has vowed to reach out to workers to better explain the changes.