October 4, 2018

Amazon Raises Wages

“Amazon.com Inc said on Tuesday it would raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour for U.S. employees from next month... The online retailer also said it would now lobby in Washington D.C. for an increase in the federal minimum wage."


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From the Left

The left is celebrating the good news, with many crediting the workers’ movement and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for successfully putting pressure on the company and CEO Jeff Bezos.

“The change may... be an attempt to discourage interest in unionizing. Employees at Whole Foods, which Amazon bought last year, are trying to unionize, fearing that the company will scale back their benefits under Amazon’s ownership."


This is “another major win for the still-growing movement of workers and unions who've been organizing around this issue for years."

Daily Kos

Regarding Sen. Sanders: “The most underestimated tool that a prominent political figure has in times of divided and dysfunctional governance is the bully pulpit... Bernie Sanders grabbed the bully pulpit and refused to let go until Amazon hiked wages."

The Nation

“For months, Sanders has been criticizing the company for paying its workers too little. He went so far as to offer a bill called the ‘Stop BEZOS Act’... A tightening labor market no doubt contributed to Amazon’s decision, but politics... was the main factor. This is how democracy and capitalism are supposed to work."

New York Times

Some, however, ask, “should we really expect our representatives to run around spending all their time and resources on pressure campaigns for every company in America?... Amazon is just one example of what is happening all across the country while nobody is looking... We need leaders in elected office who will be champions for workers and put in place meaningful regulatory changes."

USA Today

“Now that Amazon has responded to its critics on the matter of wages, how will its critics respond to Amazon?... In an era when Republicans control just about every lever of government, what should antitrust progressives do when their industrial nemeses become the most powerful advocates for progressive economics?"

The Atlantic

Minority View: “Nobody is moving to $15 wages because they’ve been watching all the progressive rallies and they’re suddenly getting woke. They’re doing it because it’s the only way to attract workers."

Mother Jones

From the Right

The right sees this move as a strategic ploy, and opposes raising the federal minimum wage.

The right sees this move as a strategic ploy, and opposes raising the federal minimum wage.

“The e-commerce giant’s decision to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour will make it harder for traditional retailers to hire the staff they need. The result could be lost sales or, worse, crowded stores without enough staff, sending shoppers online, most likely to Amazon... [Bezos] has been praised for making such a conscientious, worker-friendly decision. But the move may in fact be... a clever way to create even more pain for the competition."

Wall Street Journal

“By pairing its wage hike with a lobbying agenda — a $15 federal minimum wage — Bezos signals that he wants to push the government to regulate its competitors in a practice known as ‘raising rivals’ costs.’ The goal is to undercut competition by mandating higher wages that companies with smaller margins likely can’t afford... The more of those small competitors that Amazon squeezes out, the easier time they have dominating the market and the more profit they make."

Washington Examiner

“Mr. Bezos’s $15 wage would be a lot more praiseworthy if he hadn’t combined it with a plea for government to raise the labor costs of his competitors... If Amazon is already paying [its employees] $15, it’s no competitive sweat for Mr. Bezos to look virtuous for the media and politicians" by lobbying for a federal minimum wage increase.

Wall Street Journal

“Last year the University of Washington released an analysis... of Seattle's decision to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The results were devastating. The study found that increasing the minimum wage had significantly reduced the number of jobs and hours worked by entry-level employees. As a result, these employees saw their annual earnings fall by an average of $1,500 a year."

Fox News

Some suggest that the government, rather than individual companies, should be responsible for workers’ well-being. “American workers do need help... [but] isn't ensuring our fellow citizens reach a sufficient standard of living actually the responsibility of society as a whole? After all, the left doesn't describe national health insurance — which lets employers off the hook for their workers' health coverage — as some sort of massive subsidy to Big Business."

The Week

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