Amazon Sets $15 Minimum Wage, Whole Foods Workers Included

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Amazon fulfillment center

Seattle, WA – With treatment of its fulfillment center work force facing increased scrutiny, and unionization efforts underway by Whole Foods Market team members, Amazon.com will raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour for all U.S. workers – including part-timers and those hired through temp agencies. The increase takes effect Nov. 1.

More than 250,000 Amazon employees will be affected, the company announced, along with another 100,000 or so seasonal employees it plans to hire for the holidays. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, widely touted as the richest man in the world, said the company will lobby Washington, D.C. to raise the federal minimum wage.

There’s not all altruism behind the move. Amazon has received negative publicity for conditions at its fulfillment centers, and is staffing up for the holidays in one of the tightest labor markets in decades. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has been particularly vocal about the company’s compensation practices.

Dissent at Whole Foods Market is growing as profit-sharing for all, a long-standing company benefit, was recently eliminated. Only managers at a certain level are receiving Amazon stock options.

Amazon is not the first to take the step to $15. Cambridge Naturals, the Massachusetts-based natural products retailer, set a $15 per hour minimum several years ago and offers company health insurance to anyone who works 32 hours or more per week.

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