Days after Amazon announced it would pay all workers at least $15 per hour, Hartford-area fast-food workers joined a strike across 11 states on Thursday demanding a $15 minimum wage and union rights. Another major offender is Walmart, whose employees routinely qualify for food stamps and whose own store managers have had canned food drives to ensure they have enough to eat at the holidays.
Those who already made $15 will get an extra dollar an hour when the change is made next month, but they will also lose two benefits they relied on: monthly bonuses that could top hundreds of dollars and a chance to own Amazon's sky-rocketing stock, now worth almost $2,000 a share. But Amazon says its workers prefer the higher wages to bonuses. "We will be phasing out the RSU grant program for stock which would vest in 2020 and 2021 for this group of employees, replacing it with a direct stock purchase plan before the end of 2019".
"Amazon is much above minimum wages for delivery staff in all states, and so in India, they actually do not need to do any correction", Karanth said.
"I have zero doubt that other major corporations will follow suit", Sanders said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Tuesday. "The ones who are loyal should be rewarded for loyalty, not smacked in the face".
Still, Amazon assures employees that the wage increase will indeed boost their overall compensation, even with the removal of these RSUs. Economists said the move could put pressure on other large employers to raise wages.
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Amazon says the changes will make compensation more predictable and immediate.
The minimum wage increase "more than compensates" employees for the phasing out of stock awards and incentive pay, the company said.
"They must have a different kind of calculator than us", said an employee at a Pennsylvania warehouse, who estimated she'll lose out on about $3,000 a year. There are now 250,000 people that work for Amazon with plans to hire another 100,000 for the upcoming holiday season. The workers timed their strike a month before Election Day.
Amazon's announcement follows months of high-profile criticism of the company's treatment of workers. "If McDonald's can afford to give its shareholders $7.7 billion, it can afford to pay all its workers $15 an hour". The competition for low-wage workers has become more fierce in recent years as the United States labor market has grown more competitive, sparking a "war for talent". Bernie Sanders' office, who had been critical of Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos for paying what he described as low wages but praised the company when it raised the hourly minimum wage.