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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos challenges top retail rivals to increase their minimum wages

By Shawn Knight · 9 replies
Apr 11, 2019
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  1. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in his annual letter to shareholders challenged his top retail competitors to match Amazon’s employee benefits and $15 minimum wage.

    “Do it,” Bezos exclaimed. “Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us. It’s a kind of competition that will benefit everyone.”

    Amazon, if you recall, announced last October that it would be raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour, effective November 1, 2018. The new policy also extends to Whole Foods employees and those working at other Amazon subsidiaries.

    The change was welcomed with open arms by the more than 250,000 employees that benefited from the pay bump and led to Amazon receiving a record 850,000 job applications in October.

    Some of Amazon’s retail rivals are already on pace to match its minimum wage. Target recently announced plans to bump its minimum wage to $13 an hour in June with a goal of reaching $15 by the end of next year. Walmart’s minimum wage, set in January 2018, is $11 an hour.

    As The Verge correctly highlights, the brilliance of Bezos’ challenge is that no matter what happens, Amazon wins. If the competition matches or tops Amazon’s $15 rate, he can say it was because of them. If not, Amazon can claim the moral high ground of better respecting its workforce by paying them more.

    Lead image courtesy Roman Tiraspolsky via Shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,662   +2,418

    And then he replaced everyone with robots.
    Hexic, Teko03, wiyosaya and 1 other person like this.
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,265   +3,680

    His idea would be fine and well if prices remained the same, but as people's incomes rise so do prices so there simply is no real gain other than just looking at higher numbers ...... and by the way, this comes from a man that predicts his business will fail while he continues to sell of an average $1 billion each month .....
    H3llion, Teko03 and stewi0001 like this.
  4. gigantor21

    gigantor21 TS Maniac Posts: 169   +230

    Bezos's claims of sympathy with workers ring pretty hollow when Amazon is investing so heavily in AI and building cashierless stores and delivery drones.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  5. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,169   +1,587

    Agreed, raising minimum wage does not solve the problem. I believe the real solution is to reduce the cost of living. How do we do that? I have not figured that out yet.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  6. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,662   +2,418

    Amazon will fail eventually because every great empire is either conquered from without or crumbles from within (and often by some combination). Amazon's prices have increased noticeably over the past year and the wage hikes are at least partially responsible. Ebay could have lured back a lot of their sellers if not for Paypal screwing them over recently. All it takes is for a number of economic variables to align just right and fortunes can change very quickly, and Bezos understands this.

    The ideal way would be to reduce corruption throughout the public and private sectors and especially where they overlap. For example, if you have insurance the price of everything it pays towards immediately doubles. You also aren't allowed to band together to collectively bargain for lower prices from insurance companies. You can also be financially punished for not having private insurance. Why is any of this legal? Because the insurance industry, which is also the medial and financial industry, is totally in bed with the federal government whose most powerful officials have huge stakes in those industries. Why is that legal? Why can you be a sitting Congressmen and also own millions worth of stock in the very industries you regulate? In some cases we have Senators who are actually board members of these companies. This is called an oligarchy and its about as far from what the founders of America envisioned as you can get. Of course these are the same people who also control the media, law enforcement and make all the laws so there is no hope of changing the system in a meaningful way from within. The best way we could effect positive change would be if everyone just stopped paying taxes until strict legal barriers were put between Wall Street and K Street. The US debt is so large that a physical dollar bill is worth more than its monetary value but tax dollars are used to pay the interest on that debt. A taxpayer revolt would threaten the whole house of cards and hopefully force the government to the bargaining table. Step one would be the reinstatement of Glass-Stegall, which used to keep investment banks and the regular banks from being one and the same. Then you'd need to separate the banks, insurance and medical companies..basically break up any hegemony that profits from gouging the taxpayer. All government subsidies for industries would be abolished, period..no more corporate welfare. Its insane that the oil industry still gets subsidies and almost as insane that the "green energy" guys do as well. Let them get loans and grants like everyone else does if they really believe in their businesses.

    This is just a first step to regaining some semblance of balance in the economy..there would be so much more to do and none of it is simple. We'd need to seriously examine the advantages and disadvantages of overhauling social welfare programs - government entitlements make up a third of the US budget. Minimum wage, affordable housing and so many other fundamentals of living would need to be looked at in depth with the goal of making sure nobody goes without life's essentials but that the taxpayer isn't getting shafted in the process. Most people don't mind paying taxes as long as they know the money isn't being wasted or pocketed by corrupt oligarchs.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
    Fimbulvetr, FutureVision and wiyosaya like this.
  7. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,835   +2,184

    I think this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    What is his salary?

    What is his net worth?

    Where did all that net worth come from - his employees who turn the wheels.

    IMO, he should reduce his salary to $15/hr, swear off his net worth and see what it is like to live in that economic segment. Perhaps then he might appreciate his employees more, stop taking so much of the pie, and stop raining smelly yellow droplets on his employees from the top of his corporate tree while expecting those on which that rain is falling to bend over even further in worship of his corporate highness.
  8. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Evangelist Posts: 571   +297

    Your statement only makes sense if Amazon is only Amazon.com --- Amazon can't crumble when it also owns Amazon Web Services, Twitch, IMDb, Zappos, Audible, ComiXology and more.
  9. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,156   +1,411

    Yes, increased minimum wage leads to inflation, which nullifies the increase in the wage after a time. You won't find the answer to this problem because you're asking the wrong question. The question isn't 'How can we make minimum wage a living wage.' The question is 'How do we get people to make MORE than minimum wage.' Minimum wage should be for high-schoolers on their first job. It's not a place to make a living. Minimum wage should be a ladder, not a bed.
    mailpup likes this.
  10. FutureVision

    FutureVision TS Rookie

    A very thoughtful, thorough, and realistic summary of the state of our nation.

    However, as disatisfied as most people are, they are not disatisfied enough to take action to change things. Things are not bad enough yet... so most people make due with less ... complain more ... and keep on keeping on.

    I thought that Trump would be the catalyst needed to break up what you refer to as the "Wall Street and K Street" alliance, but it 'never happened' (to use one of Trump's favorite phrases).

    History has shown that when nation's become too corrupt they collapse. Is that where the US is headed? If so, which nation will be the next great place to live and work?

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