Amazon raising minimum wage to $15 an hour for USA workers

Amazon on Tuesday said it will raise its minimum wage to $15 in the USA, a response to mounting pressure over its wages and treatment of its warehouse workers.

Higher wages could further pressure margins at retailers that are already getting squeezed by higher transportation and raw materials costs, but the $15 still compares unfavorably with average USA blue collar wages.

An employee packs a box at the Inc. fulfillment center in Robbinsville, New Jersey, U.S., on Thursday, June 7, 2018. Bernie Sanders last month introduced legislation called the Bezos Act to tax corporations for every dollar that their low-wage workers receive in government health-care benefits or food stamps. Target announced earlier this year it would raise its minimum wage to $12 an hour with a plan to lift it to $15 by 2020. "We're excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us".

Amazon said company lobbyists will also begin advocating for an increase in the US federal minimum wage, which has been $7.25 an hour since 2009. This will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees who will be hired at Amazon sites across the country this holiday.

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Employees of Whole Foods Market and all other Amazon subsidiaries are included in the wage increase.

The $15 per hour wage will include all types of employee: full-time, part-time, seasonal and temporary. In 29 states and Washington, D.C., it's higher than the federal rate. "The current rate of $7.25 was set almost a decade ago".

Amazon will also be raising their own minimum wage in the United Kingdom to £9.50 ($12.30), and in the London area to £10.50 ($13.60).

The increased raise comes at a time when the "Fight for Fifteen" movement - a union-led push for a $15 minimum wage - has been gaining traction in cities across the country.

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