Amazon has revealed it would increase its average starting pay for frontline workers from $18 to $19 per hour, an increase that could help it captivate more employees in a very tight labour market as the holiday season looms.
Amazon said starting from October, warehouse and transportation workers would be paid between $16 and $26 per hour, depending on their position and location in the United States. The minimum wage at the e-commerce company, which has around 1.5 million workers at the end of June, will remain $15 per hour.
The increment follows an announcement from Amazon that it would carry out a Prime-Day-like holiday shopping event this month, the first time the company will have a major sales drive two times in a year, following its Prime Day deals event last July. Also, Target and Walmart said they would offer holiday deals or gift returns this month to serve cash-strapped consumers expected to shop earlier and outspread their spending for the holiday season.
Also, the company is offering the pay hike amid a growing movement of unionization inside its warehouses, propelled by worker complaints over wages and working conditions. Amazon warehouse workers in upstate New York will soon vote in a union election after an organizing drive led by the Amazon Labor Union, the grassroots group of former and current Amazon workers that secured a union win at a Staten Island warehouse in April. The evolving union then lost a subsequent election at a close warehouse.
Amazon increased its average hourly pay to $18 an hour last year. It said the new increment would cost it $1 billion in the next year.
In a separate development, the company announced that its pay access program, Anytime Pay, will change to ensure employees get paid more than once or twice a month.
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