Amazon boosts wages for hourly workers across the US

Amazon has announced it is spending nearly $1 billion to raise wages for hourly workers in the US amid criticism of its labor practices and a fierce union fight. The increase will bring starting wages to over $19 an hour for most frontline warehouse and transportation workers, while pay at Fulfillment and elsewhere will rise to $16 an hour. The company’s minimum wage remains at $15 an hour.

Amazon is also extending its Anytime Pay program to all employees, giving them access to up to 70 percent of their eligible salary at any time without a fee, instead of the usual once or twice a month. It also added a new development program that allows employees to advance into engineering roles after 12-14 months of training.

Amazon is the second largest employer in the US after Walmart with a total of over 1.5 million employees. Most of these are hourly workers in warehouses or deliveries or retailers at Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh. The average hourly wage in the US is $32.36 and $28.10 in the “Transportation and warehousing” category, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In April of this year, over 8,000 workers at a Staten Island facility voted to organize, and Amazon lost its original appeal for a re-vote. It also faces a House Committee inquiry into a fatal warehouse collapse that killed six workers during a tornado. Last June, the panel accused Amazon of “obstructing” the investigation by refusing to release key documents related to an internal review.

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