Nation & World

Amazon says workers will earn more under new plan

This would be despite losing bonuses, stock grants, company claims

Bloomberg

An employee pulls a pallet jack carrying plastic crates at the Amazon.com fulfillment center in Robbinsville, N.J., in June.
Bloomberg An employee pulls a pallet jack carrying plastic crates at the Amazon.com fulfillment center in Robbinsville, N.J., in June.

Amazon sent a letter to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Tuesday vowing that all its hourly U.S. workers will be better off financially after its new pay policy goes into effect Nov. 1.

“All hourly operations and customer service employees will see an increase in their total compensation as a result of this announcement,” wrote Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vice president for global corporate affairs, in a letter to Sanders obtained by the Washington Post.

Amazon, America’s second-largest employer, announced last week that it would boost its minimum wage to $15 for its hourly workers who labor in fulfillment centers, return centers and other sites.

But workers at some Amazon warehouses didn’t clap or cheer when they heard the news because the company simultaneously took away bonuses and stock grants. (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also owns the Post).

Many workers told the Post, the New York Times and other outlets they believed they would make less money under the new rules than they do now, prompting Sanders to ask Amazon to confirm that all employees would see an increase in total compensation after the changes take effect.

“Again, all hourly operations and customer service employees will seen an increase in their base pay, as well as in their total compensation,” Carney wrote. “We are also proud to continue to provide our industry-leading benefits, including comprehensive health care, up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave and our Career Choice program, which pre-pays 95 percent of associates’ tuition for courses in high-demand fields.”

Carney said that the increase in the hourly wage “more than compensates” for the phaseout of incentive pay and stock grants, and reiterated that the company is eliminating these because workers want more “immediate and predictable” compensation.

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Workers who have been with the company for several years are still trying to understand how Amazon is going to ensure they earn more now. Employees who currently earn $14.01 or more were told they would receive a dollar pay rise.

But as one worker at a Tennessee fulfillment center explained to the Post, he currently earns about 8 percent extra a month in bonuses.

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