Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) responded to criticism about the financial insecurity of its workers by pledging to raise the minimum wage it pays all U.S. employees to $15 an hour, more than double its current rate of $7.25.
Amazon shares are up 0.13% Tuesday.
Amazon will increase its minimum wage for all full-time, part-time, temporary (including those hired by agencies) and seasonal employees in the U.S. starting Nov. 1.
"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and CEO. "We're excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us."
Amazon has more 250,000 employees in the country and plans to hire another 100,000 seasonal workers this holiday season.
Amazon joined other retailers and corporate giants who have increased their minimum wages amid political pressure from left-leaning groups.
Walmart Inc. (WMT) said in January it would raise its starting pay to $11 an hour for all of its 1.5 million employees in the U.S. Target Corp. (TGT) raised its starting minimum wage to $12 an hour last year with plans to raise it to $15 an hour by 2020.
Amazon also said that its lobbying arm will be advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage.
The move is a direct response to critics, including Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has criticized the company for having workers who need to rely on federal assistance at a time when the company is experiencing record profits.
"I think the workers have stood up and fought back," Sanders told the Huffington Post. "What we have done is call attention to the fact that it is a disgrace that the wealthiest person in this country and in this world are paying wages so low that workers are forced to go on food stamps and Medicaid."
Editor's Note: Story has been updated to reflect that Target's minimum wage was raised to $12/hr, not $11/hr as was reported.
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