After weeks of hammering Amazon for its treatment of its warehouse workers, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders applauded Tuesday’s announcement that all employees of the tech giant will receive at least $15 an hour.
“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 press release Tuesday.
Early Tuesday morning, Amazon announced plans to raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour for all U.S. employees — including Whole Foods and warehouse workers — effective Nov. 1. The Seattle e-commerce company also vowed to lobby Congress to increase the federal minimum wage from its current rate of $7.25.
The move earned praise from leaders in the tech industry and government officials. Sanders applauded Amazon’s announcement but did not comment on the status of his bill, the Stop BEZOS Act, which sought to tax Amazon to cover the cost of federal assistance its warehouse workers receive. Sanders did commit to working with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in his fight to raise the federal minimum wage. Bezos thanked Sanders for his support on Twitter Tuesday.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) October 2, 2018
“What Mr. Bezos today has done is not only enormously important for Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of employees, it could well be a shot heard around the world,” Sanders said. “Mr. Bezos and Amazon are now leading the way but there is absolutely no reason why other profitable corporations, like Walmart, like the fast food industry, like retail in general, and other employers, no reason now why they also should not be paying their employees at least $15 an hour.”
Seattle venture capitalist and early Amazon investor Nick Hanauer echoed Sanders in an email to GeekWire Tuesday. Hanauer was a key player in Seattle’s effort to implement a $15 per hour minimum wage and continues to advocate for economic justice.
“Jeff Bezos did an incredibly fine and important thing today,” he said. “Obviously, it is great news for Amazon workers. But even more significantly, his pledge to engage in advocating for higher wage standards shows remarkable and rare leadership. I’m super proud of him.”
Continue reading for more reactions to Amazon’s new minimum wage.
Amazon will raise minimum wage of all employees to $15 starting Nov. 1–and will advocate for a higher federal minimum wage. That’s a big deal! I’m a proud co-sponsor of HR 15 to raise the federal minimum wage to $15, and I look forward to working with Amazon on that legislation. https://t.co/wzBJezJ7bY
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) October 2, 2018
Shared the new Amazon $15 minimum wage with the team here at LGB3 early this morning! Best All Hands Ever!!! 👊😃 pic.twitter.com/RqkvHQuomO
— Dave Clark (@davehclark) October 2, 2018
What Mr. Bezos has done today is not only enormously important for Amazon’s hundreds of thousands of employees, it could well be a shot heard around the world. I urge corporate leaders around the country to follow Mr. Bezos' lead. https://t.co/06wIAHunPq
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 2, 2018
— Ed Lazowska (@lazowska) October 2, 2018
This is a big deal and I don't think many people saw it coming. The battle for higher wages in America now has a strong influx of new momentum. https://t.co/DUqYQGmQUa
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) October 2, 2018
Amazon didn't gift this, workers organised for it.
The fight goes on to improve working conditions and get this company to pay its fair share of taxes.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 2, 2018