Amazon’s promise of small hourly raises for employees at its warehouses is no more than “damage control,” according to one worker.
The online company has offered raises between 25 and 55 cents an hour to its workers, according to the Washington Post.
“It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough at all,” a worker told the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. “The HR manager in the room was like, ‘Aren’t you excited? Come on, clap!’ We started a slow clap, with no emotions on our faces. A 3 percent raise in four years — it feels like damage control.”
Earlier in September, Sen. Bernie Sanders announced the “Stop BEZOS” — Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies — bill, which would tax large companies like Amazon and Walmart for the cost of its employees’ food stamps and other public assistance.
“We do not believe that taxpayers should have to expend huge sums of money subsidizing profitable corporations owned by some of the wealthiest people in this country. That’s what a rigged economy is about,” Sanders said when he introduced the bill.
Amazon had disputed Sanders’ bill, praising itself for creating more than 130,000 new jobs last year.
“No one knows what it’s like to work in one of our fulfillment centers better than the skilled and dedicated people who do it every day,” the company said in a blog post. “That’s why we are encouraging all employees to take Senator Sanders up on his request and respond with their actual experience.”
Sanders said that the median U.S. salary for Amazon employees is $28,446, but the company said that number includes part-time employees and international workers. Instead, Amazon said its full-time employees have a median income of $34,123.
A spokeswoman for Amazon told the Washington Post that the company ensures annually that its wages are competitive.
“Wage increases are standard practice for Amazon,” Ashley Robinson said in an email. “Sometimes the increases are on a rotational basis or determined by local demand so we can continue to attract local talent and retain existing employees.”
Robinson echoed to the Daily News that the lower median income of $28,446 is “not demonstrative of the experiences of the majority of our workforce.”
“The majority of full-time fulfillment center employees receive annual wage increases which complement the standard tenure-based pay increases and performance-based bonuses,” she told The News.