Amazon Gives Warehouse Employees Pay Raises Across the Country

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Amazon is handing out pay raises and new benefits for its warehouse workers across the country. Amazon said its average starting wages are now $19 an hour, up from $18. Warehouse employees now earn between $16 and $26 an hour, depending on position and location.

Amazon’s new benefit, Anytime Pay, allows workers to access their pay instantly at any time during the month. The online retail giant is also seeking to advance its workers’ careers through the Amazon Intelligence Initiative, which will place 300,000 employees in a 12- to 14-month development program to place them in AWS engineering roles.

The news comes as some Amazon workers have been seeking to unionize and as the company faces criticism about working conditions in its warehouses. A 2021 study showed that Amazon workers are seriously injured at twice the rate of other warehouses. Four Amazon warehouse workers died in separate incidents this summer, prompting an investigation by the US Department of Labor.

Amazon earlier in September expressed condolences to the families of the deceased. “Each of these tragic incidents have affected our teams greatly, and we are providing resources for families and employees who need them,” Amazon spokesman Sam Stephenson said at the time. “Our investigations are ongoing and we’re cooperating with OSHA, which is conducting its own reviews of the events, as it often does in these situations.”

Amazon has said the increase in workplace injuries occurred in part due to the pandemic, which led the company to hire tens of thousands of additional workers. Injured warehouse workers have also complained of facing difficulties in getting benefits and care covered by Amazon. 

“We take the health and safety of our team seriously and, while we aren’t perfect, we don’t believe these few anecdotes represent the experience of our more than a million front-line employees,” Amazon previously said in a statement to CNET. “When a member of our team does have an issue, we work hard to help with their unique concerns, including issues with compensation, benefits or accommodations.”

In July, other Amazon warehouse employees, in Illinois, reportedly complained about the company allowing racism and death threats against Black employees in the workplace. Amazon said it “works hard to protect our employees from any form of discrimination.”

Amazon is also under investigation by a congressional committee over concerns it made workers stay in unsafe conditions, following the deaths of six workers who were killed when a tornado struck an Amazon warehouse near St. Louis in December.

The company has additionally faced allegations of insufficient precautions around COVID-19 and inadequate bathroom breaks for warehouse workers.

Read more: Amazon Deaths Under Investigation as Warehouse Conditions Draw Scrutiny

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