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Starting Nov. 1, Amazon will raise its minimum wage to $15 for all US employees

SEATTLE -- Amazon says it’s giving all its hourly employees a raise, just in time for the holidays. The company announced their new minimum wage will be $15 an hour across the country.

Seattle-based Amazon announced it will increase its minimum wage to fifteen dollars and hour for all full-time, part-time, and seasonal hourly employees across the US. Some say the move comes after being criticized by people like Senator Bernie Sanders for its low wages and poor working conditions.

“We certainly appreciate Senator Sanders comments but we listened to all types of people, internal, external. We listened to our critics, we went back, we really thought about how we wanted to approach pay, evaluated it closely and decided this is a subject we wanted to take the lead on," says Sr. VP of Operations, David Clark.

The pay raise is set to begin next month. I spoke with a warehouse employee who says the new pay structure cuts out his bonuses and stock options, ultimately, losing money. Clark explains how the new pay plan will work.

“So, what we’ve done is we’ve set future RSUs or stock that would’ve vested in 2020 or 2021, will now convert directly to cash and will be part of the row up starting November 1st,” Clark said.

It’s also still unclear if employee hours will be cut to offset the pay increase. With more than 350,000 workers set to get a raise, local labor groups say it’s a good start but the company still has long way to go.

“It still doesn’t take the place of employees being able to negotiate for their fair share though. Especially, it isn’t only about wages. It’s also about whether you have funding for healthcare, retirement. It’s also about what your working conditions are like,” said Lynne Dodson, Secretary Treasurer for Washington State Labor Council.

Dodson believes Amazon’s move will put pressure on other companies around the world to improve employee wages and stay competitive.

Amazon says it’ll also lobby to have the federal minimum wage raised, which now stands at $7.25.

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