Amazon, facing a backlash from longtime warehouse employees who say its $15 hourly minimum wage wouldn't benefit them, will provide a bigger raise to those workers.
The company said Wednesday that some adjustments are being made this week, and workers who already made $15 an hour will get more than the $1-an-hour raise promised last week. The amount will differ by warehouse and affect a small amount of employees, but Amazon declined to say how many.
"We moved quickly to get this information to our teams as fast as possible knowing there would be certain cases that would need to be adjusted between the announcement and Nov. 1 when this new $15 minimum takes effect," Amazon said in a statement, adding that it has been "adjusting site by site and person by person as needed since the announcement to ensure everyone experiences the benefit of this change."
When Amazon announced last week that it would boost its hourly minimum wage to $15, it also cut two benefits: monthly bonuses and a chance to own Amazon's sky-rocketing stock, currently worth nearly $1,800 a share. Several employees told The Associated Press last week that they expected to earn less than they did previously because of the cut benefits.
Amazon said in a statement at the time that the changes meant "compensation will be more immediate and predictable." The Seattle-based company, which has more than 100 warehouses around the country, said "the significant increase in hourly cash wages more than compensates" for the benefits that will be phased out.
A worker at a Maryland warehouse, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of being fired, said employees were told Tuesday that they would get a raise of $1.25 an hour after Nov. 1. That's 25 cents more an hour than what they were told last week.
The worker said they were also told they would get cash payouts for reaching certain milestones. They'll receive $1,500 for staying with the company for five years and $3,000 after reaching their 10-, 15- and 20-year anniversaries. Previously, the company gave workers one or two shares of Amazon stock after each of those anniversaries.
"Definitely happier, but we are still losing a bit," said the Maryland worker of the changes. "But it's better than it was."