Amazon

Amazon's New $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage: Silencing the Critics or Keeping up With the Times?

What's behind Amazon's new minimum wage policy?

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Jonathan Weiss/Dreamstime.com

Retail giant Amazon said today that it is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all U.S. workers. Is the move supposed to silence Amazon's critics, or is it a market-based response to a falling unemployment rate?

At first glance, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' statement accompanying the announcement suggests it's the former. "We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead," Bezos said. "We're excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us."

To which critics is Bezos referring? Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is the first name that comes to mind. As Reason's Zuri Davis reported, the avowed democratic socialist has hammered Amazon in recent months for not paying its workers enough. In April, Amazon revealed that the median annual pay for its workers around the world was just $28,466. And in August, nonprofit outlet The New Food Economy reported that thousands of Amazon employees in the U.S.—including one-third of the company's Arizona workers—were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).

Bezos, by contrast, is believed to be worth upward of $150 billion.

In response, Sanders accused Bezos of contributing to the "gap between the very rich and everyone else." Then last month, he introduced the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act, also known as the Stop BEZOS Act. The legislation would mandate that companies with more than 500 employees—like Amazon—foot the bill for government benefits their workers receive.

The proposed bill has yet to gain much traction in Congress. But the bad publicity may have been enough to force Amazon to act. Coupled with the nationwide push to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, Amazon may have felt that sooner or later, it would have to increase wages anyway. Instead of waiting for state and local governments to gradually mandate higher pay, Amazon may have opted to get ahead of the curve.

As a result, more than 250,000 of Amazon's U.S. workers, as well as the 100,000 seasonal employees it plans to hire for the holidays, will be getting a pay raise. That's a big change from the company's previous policy, where starting pay was dependent on location and type of work, The Wall Street Journal reports. The new minimum wage affects full-time, part-time, and even temporary employees.

Amazon wants people to know it supports higher wages for workers at other companies too. According to Senior Vice President of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs Jay Carney, the company will "be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage," which is currently $7.25 an hour. "We intend to advocate for a minimum wage increase that will have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people and families across this country," Carney said in the company's statement.

The minimum wage increase could also be seen as an attempt to keep up in a "tight labor market," Neil Saunders, managing director of the consulting firm GlobalData Retail, tells CNN. "Without a rise in wages, Amazon would be placing itself at a disadvantage in the labor market," Saunders observes, adding that this is particularly true as the holiday season approaches.

Saunders has a point. Unemployment in the retail labor market has dropped from 5.7 percent in January to 4.4 percent in August. That's a negative 1.3 point differential over the first eight months of the year, compared to a 0.8 point drop from January to August 2017.

Ultimately, there's more than one factor at play here. The retail labor market certainly favors workers right now; at the same time, raising pay is a good publicity move for Amazon, particularly in light of recent criticism.

We'll soon see how it impacts the company's bottom line.

NEXT: California Imposed Its Own 'Net Neutrality' Law. The Feds Aren't Happy About It.

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  1. I’ll tell you why Amazon is raising wages: They can’t find enough temp workers for the holiday rush, which everyone is expecting to be Yuuuuge this year.

    The fact it allows Bezos to virtue-signal is just a side benefit.

    1. I doubt that it’s the “only” reason. Most retailers (including the generous folks at Costco) have been phasing in their pay hikes over several years; Amazon’s raise is upfront and dramatic.

      IMO Bezos is trying to ease PR concerns by giving this wage hike. He’s already in hot water because of the whole “pick-a-city” headquarters situation, so this is an easy compromise (given Amazon’s cushy financial situation) to keep the company on the media’s good side and take some of the wind out of the whole “Fight for $15” movement.

      1. The lowest starting wage for an Amazon employee is $10 an hour already. That’s quite a bit above Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25. It will affect 250,000 US employees also because those already making $15 or above, will get a bump in pay as well.

        1. The lowest starting wage for an Amazon employee is $10 an hour already. That’s quite a bit above Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25.

          Quite a few states (29, in fact) have minimum wages that are above the federal minimum wage.

    2. Well, aside from inflation, but I assume you were assuming that

    3. The other factor in this equation is that Amazon hires a lot of remote workers. As these are contractor positions, they do not come close to getting even the $10 per hour that regular employees get. Their take is closer to $7.25 an hour. So, Amazon will reduce their on-site workstaffs and replace as many as possible with remote employees.

  2. “In response, Sanders accused Bezos of contributing to the “gap between the very rich and everyone else.” Then last month, he introduced the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act, also known as the Stop BEZOS Act. The legislation would mandate that companies with more than 500 employees?like Amazon?foot the bill for government benefits their workers receive”

    I’m tired of hearing this kind of nonsense from leftists.

    They’ve been peddling this BS for years. It was aimed at Walmart before they targeted Amazon.

    It is the federal taxpayers who are subsidizing the specific individuals who are on those programs courtesy of the politicians who enacted those programs to begin with. It does NOT constitute a subsidy to companies who happen to hire people who are getting some form of government welfare. Any activity that someone hires someone else to do has a market value based on supply and demand for that type of work and has nothing to do with whether the person is getting some form of government welfare or not.

    Sanders and his admirers are all economic morons.

    1. Any activity that someone hires someone else to do has a market value based on supply and demand for that type of work…

      In a free market, that would be true. In a country in which government cronies and regulatory captors have significantly impaired the ability of the non-super-wealthy to sell goods and services, and most regular people have no choice but to seek employment from big businesses in order to survive, wages paid can be kept well below what they would be if big businesses had to compete fairly for labor with self-employment and small entrepreneurs.

      1. Then how is it so many immigrants start their own businesses?

        1. The same way most American’s do, they ignore any laws that are inconvenient and hope they don’t get audited by the state or feds.

          1. Local officials are often the biggest obstacle rather than the state or feds.

            1. Usually local officials don’t audit, they just sort of show up and guesstimate and hope you don’t think about hiring a lawyer.

              You’re absolutely right though, they’re the worst for most any small business with a few exceptions.

          2. I’m just quibbling that “regular people have no choice but to seek employment from big business in order to survive”.

            Apparently almost half of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children.

            1. I said “MOST regular people. Yes, there are rare, exceptional people who succeed despite the efforts to suppress them.

              How many of those Fortune 500 companies were founded recently? The regulatory state and cronyism have gotten much worse very fast in recent decades. Sam Walton has said that it would have been impossible for him to start Walmart under today’s regulatory conditions.

              And, who says immigrants start without resources? Some of them arrive here with substantial nest eggs.

            2. That figure of half of Fortune 500 companies is a bit misleading. What it really is is that half of them have A co-founder that was an immigrant. Which is to say that if 5 guys get together and start a tech company, and one of them is from India, or had a Mexican born mother and US born father, that counts towards that almost 50% number.

              Since MANY companies have more than one co-founder, probably most actually, it’s not as impressive as it sounds. That said, most of the most ambitious people in the world make a point of trying to immigrate to the USA, so it’s not THAT surprising even if it were more straight up only counting the main man behind a business.

        2. They have a higher tolerance for the risk and insecurity of operating illegally.

          1. they (immigrants, and by that I mean LEGAL ones) also are willing to live their lives in ways most of us find unacceptible, but are common in their former cuontry. How many Yankees do YOU know who are content to have four or five generations living in the same small older dwelling, together? Or buy twenty year old cars and work trucks for cash instead of new ones on the Never Never Finance Plan? Or save their money so that when their children are old enough and want to start their own businesses they can provide what is needed to nest egg it for them, at no interest, KNOWING those children will prosper (not having the high cost of credit hanging over their profits) and do the same for the younger ones. Its no wonder they prosper. In many ways they’re a lot smarter than the average Yank. WE do a lot of dumb things that cost a lot of big bux, and that simply raise the bar for profitability so high few actually top it.

  3. thousands of Amazon employees in the U.S.?including one-third of the company’s Arizona workers?were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).

    That says more about the SNAP program than it does AMZN,

  4. Maybe next week they’re going to quietly introduce more automation into their warehouse, excuse me, fulfillment center, operations?

    1. “Maybe next week they’re going to quietly introduce more automation into their warehouse, excuse me, fulfillment center, operations?”

      The idiot leftists have an idea related to that too:

      A robot “income tax”.

      1. Try to go one day without shaking your cane at “the leftists.” See if you can do it.

        1. Get back to me if you ever manage to scrounge up a second brain cell to keep the single one floating around in your head company.

          1. It just kind of makes you people sound like you’re in a cult.

            1. Says the guy who worships government almighty.

            2. You mean DNC doesn’t stand for Dumb National Cult?

        2. It’s their way to virtue signal in a safe environment.

      2. they;ve already got that covered… most states have a tax on business equipment, tools, shelving, etc…. hard good used to make the necessary things happen. That would include their robots. So yes, they pay an annual tax on the depreciating value of those bots, each year, to the state.

      3. When steam shovels put ditch diggers out of work, did we tax the steam shovel?

    2. If Bezos did this to get Sanders off his back, then I would hope this is next.

      Or else, it’s the same as apologizing to the left. That is, it won’t be enough. They’ll always find something to hound you.

      1. Prediction: next they’ll hound Amazon over their employee health insurance not covering gender reassignment surgery*.

        *I have no idea if it’s true that they don’t cover that or not.

        1. I think they cover it, but you have to have a Prime account to access the coverage.

          1. That’s not right. Not everyone can afford Prime!

            There’s another thing to bitch about.

  5. I would assume Amazon’s having a hard time finding workers, what with USSteel opening dozens of new steel plants and hiring tens of millions of new workers. Simple supply and demand.

    1. Are you sure it wasn’t millions of new steel plants and billions of new workers? I honestly can’t keep track any more.

      1. It was definitely billions of lies and millions of bad opinions.

  6. Will this raise in Amazon’s minimum wage be enough to coax the likes of Hihn, Rev. Kirkland, and Tony out of their mother’s basements and into gainful employment?

    1. No, because they don’t have any useful skills that anyone would be willing to pay for. Sadly (for them) there’s not very many jobs for which being breathtakingly stupid is a primary requirement.

      1. TSA is always hiring.

        1. True.

          Correction: there’s not very many jobs in the private sector for which being breathtakingly stupid is a primary requirement.

          1. McDonalds is always hiring.

        2. So, for a guy like me, a mid 50s white guy with a JD and an MBA (never put to use except to impress clients), and just enough computer skills to do his legal work and blog posting wanted a job at Amazon, would I be of any use to them?

          1. You’re too old.

            1. No greeter jobs?

      2. Breathtaking stupidity seems to helps to win a Senate election.

        1. “Breathtaking stupidity seems to helps to win a Senate election.”

          In the case of that scumbag Sanders, being unemployable helps, too

      3. George Soros is always hiring.

  7. “According to Senior Vice President of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs Jay Carney, the company will “be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage,” which is currently $7.25 an hour.”

    And if it happens to drive Amazon’s competitors out of business, well, them’s the breaks.


    1. Amazon wants people to know it supports higher wages for workers at other companies too. According to Senior Vice President of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs Jay Carney, the company will “be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage,” which is currently $7.25 an hour. “We intend to advocate for a minimum wage increase that will have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people and families across this country,” Carney said in the company’s statement.

      Oh, absolutely. That is the intention. Sure, it might hurt now but think of how many competitors are shut down before they even exist! The United States has a long and storied history of slamming the door shut behind any successful business venture.

      And because of all this, Amazon can now claim to be a leader on the front of ethics and people will lap it up.

      On the other end of the spectrum, though, one can’t ignore how hostile to the free market Sanders is either. The legislation he put together should terrify anyone that reads it. With him, one can never be sure if all those first and second order consequences are on purpose or if they’re because he’s a moron.

      1. If less than 3% of wage earners make minimum wage, that is, about one million people, how does that impact “tens of millions”

        Inflation? Unemployment?

        1. If you increase the pay at the bottom, everyone making more has to be bumped up to maintain a progressive wage scale. No one is going to volunteer to be a supervisor if they can make the same money just working the counter.

          1. ^ This.

            Lets say you’re an EMT that gets paid between $15 to $17 an hour. If suddenly you can make $15 by working at a much, much, MUCH less stressful job (say, working the paint desk at a Lowe’s) than your pay needs to rise by the same amount or no one is going to bother being an EMT. The higher pay is intended to reflect a harder job with worse hours and more stress, and thus you provide an incentive to get and keep quality people.

            This is one of the thousands of reasons why a minimum wage is fucking retarded, by the way, but you’ll rarely find a Progressive that is capable of understanding little things like Economics 101.

          2. A nice armchair theory. May not happen in the real world. The last time it affected me, I did not get a raise. I was told, ” We have to adjust to the effects of the required increase. We will raise all other pay as soon as we can. ”

            I got a decent raise when I found a better job.

            1. You left. I’m right.

        2. Also, there is the fact that if 3% make minimum wage, that doesn’t count the people that make above current minimum wage, and what the new minimum wage will be.

          If you go with $7.25, that’s 3%. But how many people currently make $8, or $9, or $10? If you go all the way up to $15 it may well be 10% or 15% that make $15 an hour or less now. Then there are the increases for all the people that only made a bit above, say $17, who will now want a raise.

          It will in fact make a large difference once all that stuff is factored in.

  8. It’s fascinating that Amazon has raised wages significantly in my area and as a result, housing prices have gone through the roof. Local politicians cry and gnash their teeth about high cost of housing, so their answer is to raise wages further.

    I just want off the merry-go-round at this point.

    1. ” Local politicians cry and gnash their teeth about high cost of housing, ”

      Yeah, the same politicians who typically are all too happy to enact laws, zoning restrictions, etc. that reduce the supply of new construction. And then try to point the finger as somebody else for causing housing costs to increase.

      1. Yes, building a simple, inexpensive house is literally illegal these days. In my area, there’s no way you’ll get a small two-bedroom house through permitting and code inspection for less than $180,000, not even counting the price of the land.

        1. Government has solved the problem of poverty by making it illegal to live like a poor person.

    2. Well Diane, in all fairness, most of the Amazon employees here in Seattle are of the 6 figure variety already. This is mostly just effecting their warehouse people strewn across the country.

  9. Amazon wants people to know it supports higher wages for workers at other companies too the use of government coercion to force its competitors to raise their wages too.

    FTFY. Not that I blame them, if they’re going to do this it makes sense for them to ensure they’re not at a competitive disadvantage. What better way to do that than cronyism?

  10. Stop BEZOS Act

    lol

  11. One more time: A government-imposed burden that you can afford but your competitors can’t is no burden at all.

  12. Show me an employer who likes to pay above market wages to its employees, and I’ll show you a rent seeker who wants government to put its competitors out of business by raising the cost of labor beyond what they can afford.

    1. Eh, overpaying your employees and being loud about it is a great way to get enough applicants to your job positions where you can pick the best ones.

      You do point out a troubling habit, though.

    2. Eh, overpaying your employees and being loud about it is a great way to get enough applicants to your job positions where you can pick the best ones.

      You do point out a troubling habit, though.

      1. The squirrels made me double click the button.

      2. I think you’re probably right. The labor market is getting tighter. Those hourly jobs at Amazon are not exactly easy, so Bezos may well end up with a more productive workforce – which will help profits. Amazon will continue to use more robots and AI. The wage increase will pressure competitors. The other lobbying Bezos is supposedly doing for a $15 minimum wage nationally could just be a PR stunt. Bezos likes to win and he thinks long term. I don’t think he caved in to pressure from Bernie. I think he decided to make a bold strategic move – one that could take a few years to be completely successful.

  13. Huh.

    So the BernieBros want the government to force companies to reimburse the government for the cost of the welfare that its employees consume. Why, it’s only fair!

    And the Trumpistas want to raise taxes on everyone, in the form of tariffs, so as to give protectionist jobs to people because otherwise they will go on welfare and become a public burden, or so we’re told.

    You might think that the real problem here is the welfare itself, and that all the rest of us are collateral damage in attempts to rearrange the economy in order to prop up the welfare state.

    1. You might think that the real problem here is the welfare itself

      That’s crazy talk!

      Wait, is this the libertarian moment?

      1. No no no. The real libertarian moment, obviously, is “solidarity with the right in order to destroy the left! The welfare state is bad only because liberals support it!”

        1. Only fake libertarians support liberty. True libertarians support Trump.

          1. ” True libertarians support Trump.”

            And go around blathering about how “credible” all of Kavanaugh’s accusers are.

          2. ^This. Geesch, guys, it’s this easy, ok?

        2. Thanks, guys. It’s nice to know there are still a couple of libertarians left on here. This place is turning into The_Donald subreddit.

          1. The Trump supporters tend to post a lot more than most. Sort of like their hero and his obsession with Twitter.

            1. Do they have jobs? I mean, it’s obvious they have no lives, but they seem to be able to post here incessantly all day every day.


    2. So the BernieBros want the government to force companies to reimburse the government for the cost of the welfare that its employees consume. Why, it’s only fair!

      Which is doubly amusing since most support welfare under the notion that it’s societies responsibility to protect the least fortunate. Of course, then turning around to demand that a corporation foot the bill seems to imply that they’re willing to put that responsibility on pretty much anyone except themselves. The corporation is already doing it’s part by employing the person in the first place, thus by definition limiting the burden placed on society by government via welfare.

      It’s just proof that most people don’t have any kind of logical consistency when it comes to welfare or corporations.

      1. The companies would have to hire people with or without welfare. Hiring people at lower wages so that they can’t afford rent makes it more likely those people will go on food stamps. It’s doubtful whether taking away food stamps would conversely cause Amazon to increase wages. It’s more likely to cause those people to go to food pantries more or become homeless, or not pay for dental work and have their teeth fall out etc. Minor price hikes on Amazon goods to pay for the higher wages, on the other hand, don’t impact the economy much. If you’re going to buy a useless gizmo from Amazon it will probably still be cheaper than from Best Buy even if it’s 10% higher in price than it is now.

  14. Amazon workers were starting to go all AI on Bezos, so $15 bread and circus.

  15. Is the move supposed to silence Amazon’s critics, or is it a market-based response to a falling unemployment rate?

    It could be a little bit of both.

    BTW, does this apply to Whole Foods as well, or only to Amazon proper?

  16. Listen, if we know one thing it’s this… all the people talking about how robots were going to take over the world because of Seattle’s minimum wage law… well, they were totally right. Skynet is amassing it’s soldiers as we speak. Socialists did this! First the Holomodor, then the eradication of humanity from self-aware burger flippers. Haven’t you commies done enough?

  17. Speaking of Amazon… every time I come to this website I get to spin the wheel to win a prize at Amazon. I do it every time and am awaiting the delivery of what now is $42,398.54 of accumulated cash and prizes.

    No, but seriously, what is going on. Am I being censored for my pro-Trump viewpoints be cosmotarians looking to do Highballs with KKKlinton and the Snorzos Foundation? Do you guys know what’s up?

  18. I don’t care WHAT they pay their employees, their policies and practices toward vendors is beyond disgusting, squeezing us so hard there is little to be made there, and at the same time undermining other retailers nationwide by improper trade practices.
    And people used to holler and scream about WalMart for “destroying” local business, which, as a charge, was quite the stretch at best, and downright untrue at worst. Yes, they came in with low prices, often undercutting long-standing local businesses. The healthy ones morphed a bit and remain, the shakey ones did fold, often. Most had been hanging on by a thin thread for years anyway. But at least when a WalMart came into an area they had to pour big bux into the local economy to buy land, build, equip, stock, operate their store, and pay signficant taxes both property and business/sales taxes. But Amazon? They take the same advantage of the little guys nationwide and put NOTHING back into the local areas. Further, they’ve somehow got USPS giving them rates so low the Post Office are losing money by handling their shipping. So we taxpayers actually subsidise our defeat on several fronts at once. If Bezos really wanted to come clean and do what’s right he’d first be looking at some of those other areas then perhaps consider a wage raise.

  19. Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest man, and he just raised the minimum wage in his company.
    Wasn’t that real white of him?

    1. If Bezos pays people more than they are worth, that sounds like generous to me.

  20. Pushing for an increase in the legal minimum wage also protects them from start-up competition that may not be viable if they have to pay the higher wage.

  21. Pushing for an increase in the legal minimum wage also protects them from start-up competition that may not be viable if they have to pay the higher wage.

    1. Yep. Use the government and public opinion to drive your competition out of the market.

  22. Automation and AI will offset the $ spend on minimum wage increase.

  23. Amazon 3rd party sellong fees are reaching unsustainable levels.

  24. So a couple thoughts. First I would say it is a mix of PR and practical considerations.

    Generally speaking, there is almost nowhere in the USA where the federal minimum wage is actually paid for work. That is to say the market wage virtually everywhere is above the minimum anyway. Maybe in SUPER depressed parts of the country, but even in most low cost of living states market wages are higher. I’m thinking of moving to Idaho, and as an employer I looked at what wages were being offered for a few different types of jobs to get a feel for the job market. They use the federal minimum wage, but I didn’t see ANY jobs on offer for less than $8.50-9, and many above that. This was for minimum wage type work.

    Amazon warehouse gigs aren’t minimum wage work to begin with. They’re a tier up or so. So in a place where market minimums are already saaay $9-10, they’re probably having to pay $12-13 to get the tier of employee they need anyway.

    With the labor market being tighter and driving up wages anyway, once you throw in the “you get what you pay for” factor, this may not cost them much of anything. That is to say that if you pay a bit more, you get a better quality of applicant. They can be more picky about only keeping extra good employees if they’re all of a sudden $5-6 above market minimum wage in an area vs $2-3 above.

    1. This factor is always a tough one to suss out in business, balancing quality vs low wages, but it is real. Some employees will simply get twice as much shit done as others, but if you merely get 25% increases for 25% higher wages, you’re still break even.

      Any which way, combine this all and I don’t see it costing them much, yet they still get the PR.

      BONUS ROUND INFO: If we’re going to do $15 an hour, the BEST WAY to do it IS to force it federally… Why? Because if that happens it will kick in an inflationary cycle which will devalue the dollar, and push real wages right back to where the market sets them. LOL

      It’s actually more problematic doing it just in certain states or whatever because they don’t have the juice to inflate the whole nations currency. Most people are too economically illiterate to even understand things like this of course, so they’ll still feel better about their increased wages… At least for awhile. It will create issues of course, but kicking up inflation a bit wouldn’t be entirely horrible for the US anyway, on account of that 21+ trillion bucks we owe…

  25. Right, Amazon is doing this because they want to be loved…don’t believe it. This is just another way of driving away competition. If Amazon can do this, the politicians and uninformed voters with think, then any retailer or business can do this. They change the Federal minimum wage and all of a sudden Amazon has 50% less competition.

  26. As Chief Executive Officer, Director at AMAZON COM INC, Jeffrey P. Bezos made $1,681,840 in total compensation. Of this total $81,840 was received as a salary, $0 was received as a bonus, $0 was received in stock options, $0 was awarded as stock and $1,600,000 came from other types of compensation. This information is according to proxy statements filed for the 2017 fiscal year.

    Bloomberg:

    Amazon.com Inc. founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos received $1.68 million in total pay last year, unchanged from 2012, including $81,840 in salary and $1.6 million to cover security arrangements.

    Of course, he is fabulously wealthy due to his ownership of the trillion-dollar company: Bezos currently holds 78,893,033 shares or 16.3% of the shares outstanding.

    Based on salary and other compensation, Bezos earns about 5 cents per second, so the poster is just wrong. His on-paper wealth may indeed rise and fall rapidly, Bernie Sanders Sanders’ claim that Bezos’ wealth increases by $275 million every day may be true for certain days. But he can lose $275 million per day on bad days, too.

    P.S. His salary (not counting security costs for which he is reimbursed) is way less than what Sen. Sanders makes in his job as a US Senator, and Sanders doesn’t ever see the bill for his security costs.

    1. Great post.

  27. So they’ll be getting $15/hour but losing other fringe benefits that they had been getting.

    WSJ:

    In April, a company spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal that Amazon had been paying its full-time U.S. warehouse workers an average hourly wage of more than $15 including the stock and incentive bonuses that it is now eliminating.

    The restricted-stock program, which vests over two years, is being replaced with a direct stock-purchase plan. The company said the net effect of this change still will result in a higher total compensation for employees. It is also phasing out incentive pay targets, perks which typically reward things like attendance or seniority.

    Eliminating those benefits may reduce the attractiveness of working at Amazon warehouses longer term.

  28. WSJ reported earlier “Amazon, which has faced criticism about pay and benefits, said it would raise the minimum wage for all U.S. workers. The company will also start lobbying Congress for an increase in the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 an hour.”

    Once they’ve upped their own minimum wage, they immediately start rent-seeking to force their competitors to increase their costs too through government force. Real nice…

  29. I don’t have a problem with Bezos raising the minimum wage for his employees – that’s supply and demand. I do have a big problem with his lobbying Congress to raise the national minimum wage to match his, so he won’t be at a competitive disadvantage.

  30. Hopefully, Bezos does have good, economic, profit-driven reasons for raising their wages. Otherwise someone should tell Bezos it’s a wasted effort and many people, such as Bernie Sanders, will continue to irrationally hate him and Amazon until the company is a footnote in history, regardless of what he does.

  31. Predictably, there’s an article on Yahoo about some employees losing money due to the phasing out of restricted stock awards and bonus plans. Oh well – can’t please everybody – right Bernie? Of course, I’d miss stock awards too if the shares I’d been awarded over the last few years went up as much as Amazon shares. Of course, the stock market is unpredictable, and a steady $15 an hour will help many Amazon workers.

    1. I agree. At that level people want and need more hourly.

      Amazon like everyone else needs workers. This is a massive problem. At the same time our admin is protectionist and anti immigration. That is going to bite us in the ass.

      There is not one business I know of where I live not recruiting. There are signs out everywhere, flyers, and it is at all levels of skill or non skilled. Growth needs workers at all levels. That was not happening 10 years ago.

      Think of the pencil as Milton Friedman described in his famous lesson.

      1. I’m totally down for skilled immigration… But we could put the 10 million+ people who are out of work as per the labor force participation rate data to work before we start importing more non skilled immigrants.

        I’m sure there are some geographic issues in where available workers are vs where jobs are, but that’s nothing that can’t be worked out… And whatever people might be out there abusing Social Security Disability and other welfare programs… Well we should do some audits there and make sure people aren’t milking the system, because we already know a ton of people did just that when they couldn’t find work after the 07/08 recession.

        If the economy keeps going gang busters, I suspect we will finally see wages rise and labor force participation rates rise. Neither of those metrics have done well at all since the great recession. When we see those two metrics start going up properly, THEN we’ll know we have an actual labor shortage.

      2. There is not one business I know of where I live not recruiting.

        I don’t feel sorry for them, at least the ones in my region. Maybe things are different elsewhere. Around here, employers whine about the lack of workers but then beat applicants away with a stick. They reject people who can’t pass a piss test for weed; who had long-ago, minor, or irrelevant crime convictions (or in some cases, even just arrests); they reject people who have “job hopped” recently regardless of the reasons; they’re very reluctant to hire older workers and won’t consider putting them in training programs; many will not look at applicants who are currently unemployed; and most hiring for industrial jobs is now done through temp agencies?new workers must work as part-time temps with no benefits for months or years before being considered for full-time employment. Part-time hires are often given irregular schedules to deliberately make it difficult for them to have other jobs. This is going on while we have a labor participation percentage in the sixties. Employers need to quit whining and hire some of the people who are actually available. And paying them decently wouldn’t hurt, either.

  32. My opinion on the minimum wage has not changed.

    If what a business pays someone is not enough for that person to live on, the business is buying somethign below cost.

    Selling anything below cost is not sustainable – unless there is another source of revenue to make up the difference.

    This source of revenue is food stamps and Medicaid, paid by the taxpayers.

    Now those taxpayers are subsidizing a business, EVEN THOUGH THEY MAY NEVER SHOP THERE.

    I prefer to spend money on business the old fashioned way – for goods received,- not to make products cheaper for other people.

    If a buisness gets into the habit of having its workforce subsidized, they may want to expand and have their electricity, say, also subsidized by the taxpayer.

    In short, I am against freeloaders.

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