Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
3 October 2018
Doubling the minimum wage? Good on Amazon.
Call it a response to critics of its labor practices or call it a response to a tight labor market. Amazon increasing its minimum wage in the US to $15 an hour is something to be celebrated.
Being one of the largest employers in the US, Amazon resides in the crosshairs of the fair wage debate for good reason. Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest person in the world, rakes in the cash while his employees can hardly get by on the federal minimum wage of $7.50 that has remained static since 2009.
Many argue that Amazon, now a trillion-dollar company, was profiting at the expense of taxpayers. Taxpayers subsidizing Amazon because its workers had to take government subsidies like food stamps to make ends meet. (I’m not completely sure that the blame for that can be solely placed on Amazon. Maybe Congress should do the right thing and make sure all Americans can earn a living wage.)
Amazon’s doubling of the minimum wage even received praise from one of the company’s harshest critics, Bernie Sanders.
“I think doubling its employees’ minimum wage is the kind of decision companies take when they assume a leadership position.”
Amazon’s commitment to raising the minimum wage
It’s a good move for Amazon in an economy with 4% unemployment. The labor market is tight and low wage jobs have incredibly high turnover. That turnover is expensive and reduces productivity, morale and a whole host of other things. So this is also a smart move to build a more stable work force. I’ve even heard some say that this was a move to get Amazon’s own employees to buy more from Amazon, so there’s also that.
From Amazon’s perspective, it’s not easy to pay the majority of your employees double what they were making last month. I don’t really care how you look at it. I think doubling its employees’ minimum wage is the kind of decision companies take when they assume a leadership position.
Amazon owns a history of making good decisions. (And things I wish it would do.) Add this to the list. I have no doubt there was pressure to raise its minimum wage. But like I said, doubling most of your employees’ salaries in a month’s time takes commitment. Good on Amazon. Maybe our government can follow its lead and do the right thing too.
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