Warehouse and delivery workers at Amazon are receiving a raise across the board. The pay is going from $18 an hour to $19 an hour, beginning this month.

The minimum wage for workers is still at $15, which keeps the adjusted pay above the minimum. Though it’s worth noting that some of these workers may receive up to $26 an hour depending on their position. It will be peak season very soon with the holidays and the pay hikes are intended to retain workers during the busiest time of the year. Amazon has been struggling with high employee turnover from those that seek better pay, which affects their productivity overall.

Another interesting addition is the benefit called Anytime Pay, which allows Amazon workers to access their pay at any time during the month.

The pay hike will cost Amazon over $1 billion dollars over the next year, which is unsurprising considering they are by far the largest online retailer in the world with over 1.5 million employees globally, with approximately 750.000 of them being warehouse workers in the US.

Amazon hasn’t had the best relationship with its warehouse workers for a while now. Workers have been demanding adjusted pay, more paid time off, and better work conditions, especially in regard to unrealistic productivity expectations. The raise along with the benefits also doubles as a way to calm those seeking to unionize, something Amazon has been adamantly against from the beginning.

Amazon warehouse in California. Source: NBC News
Amazon warehouse in California. Source: NBC News

But working conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic and other separate incidents (such as reports of racism, death threats, and poor safety precautions) have led workers to seek union, but so far, only one Amazon facility has voted to unionize.

The high turnover has even led Amazon to fear that they would run out of people to hire across so many facilities. Perhaps the increase in pay along with the extra benefits will help, but the way Amazon is hostile towards unionizing will likely lead to more friction in the future, especially when other cases of poor working conditions surface. After all, the peak season is right there and a lot of pressure falls on workers.

It’s worth noting that Amazon is not beneath using technology to determine if and where workers could be unionizing and quite a few employees have been laid off for speaking out against poor working conditions, particularly during the pandemic.

The tension between Amazon and its warehouse workers is far from settled, but hopefully, they see better working conditions this year.

Amazon’s net worth is an astronomical 1.2 trillion dollars. If anyone can afford to pay their employees a decent wage, it’s Amazon.