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What Amazon Adds To The Fight For $15

Employees of American electronic commerce company Amazon prepare products for dispatch in Bad Hersfeld, central Germany on December 7.
SWEN PFORTNER/AFP/Getty Images
Employees of American electronic commerce company Amazon prepare products for dispatch in Bad Hersfeld, central Germany on December 7.

On Tuesday, Amazon announced it will raise its minimum wage to $15 for its employees across the U.S.

It’s the latest move in the Fight for $15, a movement catalyzed by fast-food workers who went on strike in New York City six years ago.

From Vox:

The move comes at a tense moment for Amazon. Though the company’s market value recently hit $1 trillion (it’s only the second US company to do so, after Apple), the online retailer is dealing with serious complaints from employees, who describe harrowing work conditions and low pay at Amazon’s warehouses in the United States and across the world.

In July, Amazon workers in Europe went on strike to protest what they describe as hot, windowless, soul-crushing work environments. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has repeatedly attacked Bezos for paying warehouse employees so little that US taxpayers end up bearing the cost of their welfare benefits, such as food stamps and Medicaid.

When the Fight for $15 began, critics decried the prospect of raising the minimum wage as a “job killer.” So what’s changed?

A new study released by the University of California at Berkeley shows that minimum wage increases in six U.S. cities — Washington, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose — boosted worker pay without hurting job growth.

Other strands of research are less optimistic about the initiative.

We’ll discuss the case for raising the minimum wage, and just how far $15 an hour goes in 2018.

*Show produced by Stef Collett, text by Kathryn Fink*.

GUESTS

Paul Sonn, State policy program director at National Employment Law Project, @paulsonn

Michael Saltsman, Managing director, Employment Policies Institute; former field economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Sarah Anderson, Director, the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, co-editor for inequality.com.

@Anderson_IPS

Achon Hightower, Minimum wage worker, member of Fight for $15

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

© 2018 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

Copyright 2018 WAMU 88.5

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