pack and ship customer orders at the 750,000-square-foot Amazon
fulfillment center on August 1, 2017 in Romeoville, Illinois. (
Scott Olson/Getty Images)
sent a letter to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday vowing
that all of its hourly U.S. workers will be better off financially
after its new pay policy goes into effect on November 1.
hourly operations and customer service employees will see an
increase in their total compensation as a result of this
announcement,” wrote Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vice president
for global corporate affairs, in a letter to Sanders obtained by
The Washington Post.
America’s second largest employer, announced last week that it
would boost its minimum wage to
$15 for all of its hourly workers who
labor in fulfillment centers, return centers and other sites. But
workers at some Amazon warehouses didn’t clap or cheer when they
heard the news because the company simultaneously took away
bonuses and stock grants. (Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos
also owns The Washington Post).
workers told The
Washington Post, the
New York Times, The
Huffington Post and other outlets that
they believed they would make less money under the new rules than
they do now, prompting Sanders to ask Amazon to confirm that all
employees would see an increase in total compensation after the
changes take effect.
all hourly operations and customer service employees will seen an
increase in their base pay, as well as in their total
compensation,” Carney wrote. “We are also proud to continue to
provide our industry-leading benefits, including comprehensive
healthcare, up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave and our Career
Choice program, which pre-pays 95 percent of associates' tuition
for courses in high-demand fields.”
said that the increase in the hourly wage “more than compensates"
for the phase-out of incentive pay and stock grants, and
reiterated that the company is eliminating these because workers
want more “immediate and predictable” compensation.
who have been with the company for several years are still trying
to understand how Amazon is going to ensure they get more take
home pay than they do now. “Total compensation” often refers to
pay plus benefits and not necessarily the take home pay that most
workers are focused on to get by. Employees who currently earn
$14.01 or more were told they would receive a dollar pay rise, but
as one worker at a Tennessee fulfillment center explained to The
Washington Post, he currently earns about 8 percent extra a month
base pay is around $14 an hour, and the extra bonus money for good
performance would yield him another roughly $180 a month and even
more during the peak holiday season from October to December.
After the changes, he would only earn $160 extra a month from the
dollar pay raise. Amazon is also stopping its practice of giving
workers a quarter raise every six months, effectively creating a
lower ceiling on how much veteran employees can earn.
will also no longer receive stock grants, which vested after three
years with the company and were a substantial benefit to long-term
employees since the company’s stock is worth almost four times
what it was in September 2015.
worker, who asked not to be named out of fear of retribution, said
he was “disappointed” and called this a “downturn of events.” He
added that morale was “shot” among veteran employees.
told Sanders it is planning to do more outreach to help employees
understand how the changes will impact them personally and how
they will be better off.
Bezos repeatedly for underpaying his
employees, praised Amazon after the minimum wage increase and said
it “could well be a shot hear around the world” that causes other
large companies to follow suit.
$15 pay is significantly above the typical retail pay in the
United States, but it remains
below median warehouse worker pay of
$15.53 an hour, according to Labor Department data.