Although that headline is indeed snarky, at this point, we’ll take it how we can get it.
Jeff Bezos, who is indeed, the richest person alive on earth, announced on Tuesday that Amazon is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all US employees, including part-time and temporary workers, a boon for those who get extra work during the holiday season.
The change takes effect Nov. 1 and affects more than 250,000 Amazon employees, plus 100,000 seasonal workers, according to CNN Money.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” said Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”
CNN reports that Amazon is experiencing explosive growth, and has added more American jobs in the past decade than any other company.
The decision to raise its wages presents a boon for workers in the next American city that Amazon decides to place its next headquarters in. HQ2 will reportedly add as many as 50,000 jobs, and 20 American cities are in the running including Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post and Whole Foods, may have caved to the bad publicity including criticism from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has said on more than one occasion that a man with an estimated worth of $165 billion could do more for his workers.
But Sanders was gracious and conciliatory when responding to the announcement today.
“I want to give credit where credit is due,” Sanders said on Tuesday. “I want to congratulate Mr. Bezos for doing exactly the right thing.”
Bezos responded by thanking the senator. “We’re excited about this, and also hope others will join in,” he wrote in a tweet.
Started by fast-food workers, there has been a protracted and ongoing fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 (#FightFor15), as an offset to increasing wage inequality, as well as to boost the economy through consumer spending.
Some companies have responded to the public pressure including Target, which raised its minimum wage for new hires to $12 an hour in September and plans to raise its minimum to $15 by the end of 2020; Disney, which reached a deal with its unions to pay a minimum of $15 an hour at Disneyland in California in 2019 and at Disney World in Florida by 2021; and Walmart, which has more than 1 million US workers and raised its minimum wage to $11 in February, according to CNN.
The federal minimum wage currently stands at $7.25, which has been the case since 2009.
Amazon also announced on Tuesday that it will begin lobbying for an increase in the federal minimum wage. Sen. Sanders also said he looked forward to working with Bezos to push for a $15 federal minimum.