Bald Amazonian Jeff Bezos, America’s richest man, published his annual letter to shareholders today—including a challenge to his competitors to raise their wages. Isn’t that interesting?
Last year, we raised our minimum wage to $15-an-hour for all full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees across the U.S. This wage hike benefitted more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees who worked at Amazon sites across the country last holiday. We strongly believe that this will benefit our business as we invest in our employees. But that is not what drove the decision. We had always offered competitive wages. But we decided it was time to lead – to offer wages that went beyond competitive. We did it because it seemed like the right thing to do.
(This is a lie. You can thank the Fight For 15 and a very low unemployment rate for this change.)
Today I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our $15 minimum wage. Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us. It’s a kind of competition that will benefit everyone.
Here’s a wacky idea: what if, instead, Bezos himself raised his own employees’ salaries to $16 an hour? To give 250,000 full-time warehouse workers a dollar an hour raise would cost $500 million a year. If Jeff Bezos funded that directly out of his own pocket, he would be in danger of running out of money in only 300 years. So you can see why he needs to be conservative in his spending.