Amazon will increase hourly pay by between 50 cents and $ 3 to more than half a million employees of its fulfillment, delivery and sorting teams, the US tech giant announced Wednesday.
The increases, which will take effect between May and June, come before a federal hearing on a botched unionization drive and after President Joe Biden singled out Amazon for avoiding federal income taxes.
The Seattle-based e-commerce giant has embarked on a hiring wave during the pandemic, adding 500,000 jobs last year. Now, it employs around 1.3 million people around the world.
Typically, the company reviews wages each fall before the holiday shopping bonanza. But this time it anticipated the annual hike as it seeks additional hires “for tens of thousands of jobs” in US operations, Darcie Henry, vice president of global operations, said in a statement.
The salary increase will be shared among employees of the customer compliance, delivery, package sorting and specialty compliance teams, while other teams will see their annual compensation reviewed during the year, the statement added.
In 2018, Amazon raised its minimum wage to $ 15 an hour for all U.S. employees, and recently joined several other large corporations in advocating for the federal minimum to be increased to the same amount.
Amazon touted its starting hourly wage, among other benefits, while defending itself against an ultimately unsuccessful effort to create the company’s first union in a US facility.
Earlier this month, unions and political leaders had argued that Amazon employees face constant pressure and monitoring, with little job protection, highlighting the need for collective bargaining.
Organizers of the failed union campaign accused the company of intimidating workers before the vote-by-mail and have filed a case with the National Labor Relations Board.
In defending Amazon’s treatment of employees after the union vote, company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos promised a better “vision” for workers.
In a letter, he set a new goal for the company to be “the best employer on Earth and the safest place to work.”
Amazon made the raises announcement the day before it was scheduled to release its first-quarter earnings.