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After Failed Union Vote, Amazon to Hike Warehouse Worker Pay by $1 Billion

By Rich Duprey - Apr 29, 2021 at 10:40AM

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The e-commerce giant hears a message from its workers in Alabama.

Amazon (AMZN 3.60%) survived a vote to unionize at an Alabama warehouse, and though the tally wasn't even close, it seems clear the message from its workers was heard.

The e-commerce giant announced today it would be raising the pay of 500,000 employees working in support of its fulfillment centers by spending $1 billion to increase pay anywhere from $0.50 to $3 per hour.

Amazon.com warehouse worker

An Amazon warehouse employee. Image source: Amazon.com.

Amazon employs nearly 1.3 million people worldwide, and among the complaints the union organizers campaigned upon was the intense scrutiny of the time employees spend away from their positions. They also complained of spending a long time on their feet and of wanting better pay.

The retailer already pays one of the highest wages in the industry, $15.30 per hour on average, plus a passel of benefits including medical, dental, and vision coverage, as well as parental leave. It also provides an hour lunch break and two 30-minute breaks during the course of a shift. It said it already provides what the union is asking, so workers would realize little benefit, but would have to pay dues for it.

Workers who voted against the unionizing effort said Amazon also makes it well known going in that the job is demanding. 

Still, Amazon is likely striving for good relations with its workforce, which is why it is pulling forward its annual fall pay review and rolling out the pay increases between mid-May and mid-June.

Amazon also said it was hiring tens of thousands more employees for its customer fulfillment, delivery, package sorting, and fulfillment teams, and the pay initiative was part of that process.

The last time Amazon warehouse workers tried to form a union was in 2014, and that effort failed as well.

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