amazon raises hourly wages by about $1 amid increasing union pressure

Last year, Amazon spent over $4.3 million on anti-union consultants alone, to which labor advocates asked, why not just pay that money to workers? Now, Amazon will do just that.

Over the next year, Amazon will dedicate nearly $1 billion to increasing the average wages of its warehouse and transportation workers from about $18 to $19 per hour. Amazon will also expand access to Anytime Pay, a tool that allows employees to access up to 70% of their paychecks sooner than once every week or two. The company also added additional investment in career development programs, including the Amazon Intelligence Initiative. This program offers a 12- to 14-month course to help employees develop technical skills, with the ultimate goal of transitioning them into AWS-related engineering roles.

After Amazon workers won their first union in Staten Island earlier this year, fulfillment centers from Albany to Southern California have launched their own union drives. These employees have raised concerns about overheating warehouses, poor COVID-19 working conditions, illegal intimidation tactics and low pay. Amazon has also received numerous citations from the National Labor Relations Board for illegally interfering in employee labor organizing.

So, workers at KSBD, Amazon’s Inland Empire air freight fulfillment center in San Bernadino, California, are not satisfied by this $1 hourly increase.

KSBD plays a key role in Amazon’s supply chain. Last month, a group of employees organizing as Inland Empire Amazon Workers United walked off the job to demand higher pay and safer conditions.

“Whether we’re suffering from heat exhaustion, not getting paid enough to afford rent, or being retaliated against for speaking up, we know we deserve better,” the group wrote in a tweet. One of their core demands is for Amazon to increase wages by $5 per hour.

“We know that the reason Amazon has announced it will raise our pay by about $1 Wednesday is because of us, Inland Empire Amazon Workers United, and Amazon workers across the country standing up for better jobs,” the group wrote in a statement yesterday. “While we know Amazon wouldn’t have raised pay if we had not demanded it, we need $5 an hour to meet the rising costs in the Inland Empire.”

These changes in pay will take effect beginning in October.

“Continuing to invest in pay, providing easy access to earned wages at any time during the month, and offering great benefits and career advancement opportunities are all part of our long-term efforts to be the best employer in the world,” said Amazon Senior Vice President John Felton in a statement.

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