Not all Amazon employees are happy with the company raising their wages to at least $15 an hour. That’s because the tech giant is phasing out stock options and monthly bonuses for its warehouse workers at the same time.
Amazon announced plans to eliminate the restricted stock units (RSUs) for warehouse employees at the same time it announced the new minimum wage.
“We’ve heard from our hourly fulfillment and customer service employees that they prefer the predictability and immediacy of cash to RSUs,” the company said. “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 also getting rid of monthly incentive bonuses for warehouse workers, according to Bloomberg. The company says the net effect of these changes will be higher cash compensation and more predictability for employees, but some are unconvinced.
“We make less than we did before if you subtract our bonus pay and stock,” said one Twitter user, claiming to work for an Amazon warehouse in Indianapolis.
Another Amazon warehouse worker, Vicki Shannon Allen, called the changes “a joke” in an interview with NBC News.
“Rather than receiving the raise they deserve, many Amazon warehouse workers will now see lower pay,” said Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, in a statement. “That’s not just disappointing, it’s wrong.”
An Amazon spokesperson told GeekWire that the warehouse worker wage increase “more than compensates for the phase out of incentive pay and RSUs.” Amazon says that all workers in its fulfillment centers will see an increase in their total compensation. Workers already receiving more than $15 per hour will receive raises of $1 per hour.
Despite the criticism, the response to Amazon’s minimum wage hike has largely been positive. Before the announcement, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced legislation that would tax Amazon to cover the cost of government assistance its workers receive. After publicly criticizing Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos for weeks, Sanders applauded the decision to raise wages.
“Today I want to give credit where credit is due and I want to congratulate Mr. Bezos on doing exactly the right thing,” Sanders said in a statement Tuesday.