Amazon’s $15 an hour a win? Not so, some veteran workers say

07 October, 2018, 03:01 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • Article Image Update Amazon Cuts Monthly Bonuses Stock Awards to Raise Minimum Wage

Online retail giant Amazon is cutting back on bonuses and other stock options for its warehouse workers after it raised its minimum wage for all employees to at least $15 an hour; a sharp rebuke of Sen. Another major offender is Walmart, whose employees routinely qualify for food stamps and whose own store managers have had canned food drives to ensure they have enough to eat at the holidays.

According to Bloomberg, those bonuses amounted to hundreds of dollars a month in some cases.

But some workers say they will now make less money.

"The significant increase in hourly cash wages more than compensates for the phase out of incentive pay and RSUs [restricted stock units]", a spokesperson said. The company also said it will work to gain Congressional support to increase the federal minimum wage. "The ones who are loyal should be rewarded for loyalty, not smacked in the face".

The new minimum wage, which will begin November 1, will apply to more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as more than 100,000 seasonal workers.

"Because it's no longer incentive-based, the compensation will be more immediate and predictable", Amazon said.


On Jan. 1, California's minimum wage increased to $11 for businesses with 26 employees or more.

"They must have a different kind of calculator than us", said an employee at a Pennsylvania warehouse, who estimated she'll lose out on about $3,000 a year.

With profits in the billions and history's richest man as CEO, Amazon could afford to change its mind about bonuses and stock pay. There are now 250,000 people that work for Amazon with plans to hire another 100,000 for the upcoming holiday season.

Paul Sonn, state policy program director for the National Employment Law Project, said Amazon's announcement would put pressure on other companies to raise pay and on Congress to lift the national minimum. He said Amazon needs to communicate to workers better if overall compensation is higher "or you're going to have morale problems". "We get no more bonuses for not missing any work".

McDonald's Corp. shares slipped as Senator Bernie Sanders called on the fast-food chain to follow in Amazon.com Inc.'s footsteps and boost its minimum wage. "The larger ecommerce companies that are fighting it out for talent in the same territories are compelled to pay wages in line with the market". According to Alphavalue´s analysts, "this not only blocks the competition (Walmart), but also confirms the shortage of manpower in the United States and that, as a result, the margins of labour intensive companies can only increase, from food retail to the providers of security services".

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