Amazon raising minimum wage to $15 an hour

Amazon raising minimum wage to $15 an hour
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Amazon announced early Tuesday that it is increasing its hourly minimum wage to $15 per hour for all full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees across the United States.

“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and CEO, said in a statement.

“We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us,” he added.

The new hourly minimum wage rate is scheduled to take effect on Nov. 1 and will benefit the more than 250,000 employees working at the retail giant.

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“We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. The current rate of $7.25 was set nearly a decade ago,” Jay Carney, Amazon's senior vice president of global corporate affairs, said in the statement.

“We intend to advocate for a minimum wage increase that will have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people and families across this country,” he continued. 

The move comes on the heels of repeated attacks from Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Crunch time arrives for 2020 Dems with debates on deck The Memo: All eyes on faltering Biden ahead of first debate Progressive group launches campaign to identify voters who switch to Warren MORE (I), an outspoken critic of large corporations.

The Vermont independent has specifically called out Amazon and Bezos following reports that some workers claimed they received wages they could not live on.

In a letter to the Amazon CEO in June, Sanders shared stories his staff had heard from Amazon employees who said they were struggling.

"My staff have spoken with Amazon workers who are homeless, who are hungry, who are suffering and in pain," Sanders wrote. "The people you employ who spend 10 or more hours a night running, bending, lifting, and packing up our new electronic gadgets, baby clothes, dog treats and kitchen appliances — many of these workers struggle to pay their rent, put food on the table, send their kids to college or afford their medical bills."

Earlier this month, Sanders escalated his feud with Bezos by introducing legislation that would charge big companies like Amazon for the federal welfare programs that support their low-wage workers.