Amazon raises wages for U.S. employees after deadly union battle

Amazon said it would grant a pay rise of up to $ 3 an hour to more than 500,000 employees in its U.S. logistics network, as part of a close review of the working conditions of its frontline workers.

The online retailer said on Wednesday it had presented its annual salary review and would gradually increase wages from $ 0.50 to $ 3 an hour – a $ 1 billion investment, according to Darcie Henry, vice president of ‘Amazon.

“This is in addition to our already industry-leading starting salary of at least $ 15 an hour and the more than $ 2.5 billion we invested last year in bonuses and incentives. extra for the frontline teams, ”said Henry. in a report.

The company said it was currently recruiting for “tens of thousands” of jobs in its vast logistics network, which had already grown rapidly during the pandemic, bringing its workforce to more than 800,000 alone. United States, making it the second largest employer in the country, behind Walmart.

The pay increase did not apply to workers at the company outside of the United States, a spokeswoman said.

Amazon employees in the country currently start with at least $ 15 an hour, more than double the national minimum wage. But jobs and the use of closely watched productivity quotas have drawn fierce criticism from activists and politicians, especially as the dangers of the coronavirus have set in.

In March 2020, during the frantic early stages of the pandemic, Amazon temporarily increased the salary from $ 15 to $ 17, but lowered the increase several months later.

The latest move comes 13 days after Jeff Bezos, president and CEO, in its annual letter to shareholders, admitted that the company needed to improve its relations with employees, following a bitter unionization campaign at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama.

An overwhelming majority of factory workers voted against joining a union earlier this month, but the campaign shed light on working conditions. Amazon has also been accused of unfair influence on employees during the voting process and a hearing into the union’s challenge to the result is scheduled for next week.

In his letter, Bezos wrote: “Is your president any comfort at the outcome of the recent union vote in Bessemer?” No, he doesn’t. I think we need to do a better job for our employees.

“Although the results of the vote were patchy and our direct relationship with employees is strong, it is clear to me that we need a better vision of how we create value for employees – a vision of their success.

The effort in Alabama boosted the company’s union activity in other parts of the country, with a renewed focus on the conditions faced by around 50,000 Amazon delivery people.

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