Amazon slams Walmart for not paying workers $15 per hour, following new criticism of the e-commerce giant’s treatment of workers

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A Walmart personal shopper. Walmart
  • Amazon took a dig at Walmart’s worker pay in a recent Bloomberg article, saying the nation’s biggest retailer has yet to join them in “raising the minimum wage to $US15.”
  • In analysis of 68 counties where Amazon opened a warehouse, average industry compensation dropped by 6% within two years, Bloomberg reported.
  • Amazon raised its minimum wage to $US15 an hour in 2018.
  • Walmart raised its minimum hourly wage to $US11 from $US9 in 2018 and previously said the full-time hourly workers averaged $US14.26 an hour.
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Amazon took a dig at Walmart’s worker pay in a recent Bloomberg article.

In analysis of 68 counties where Amazon opened warehouses, average industry compensation dropped by 6% within two years, Bloomberg reported. Average wages increased five years after Amazon arrived in the areas.

In response to the article, Amazon questioned why the report did not explore wages at Walmart, the US’s largest retailer.

“Hiring more, by paying less, simply does not work. Many of our employees join Amazon from other jobs in retail which tend to be predominantly part-time, reduced benefit jobs with substantially less than our $US15 minimum wage,” Amazon said in a statement to Bloomberg. “These employees see a big increase in pay per hour, total take-home pay, and overall benefits versus their previous jobs. What surprises us is that we are the focus of a story like this when some of the country’s largest employers, including the largest retailer, have yet to join us in raising the minimum wage to $US15.”


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Walmart and Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment.

Competition between the two retail giants has increased in recent years as they compete for workers. Amazon raised its minimum wages to $US15 an hour in 2018 after criticism from labour advocates, including Sen. Bernie Sanders. Walmart raised its minimum hourly wage to $US11 from $US9 in 2018 but said full-time hourly workers averaged $US14.26 an hour.

“We think better than focusing only on what’s that lowest starting wage, it’s better to talk about … What’s the average wage?” Kathleen McLaughlin, Walmart’s chief sustainability officer, told Business Insider in 2019.

Amazon tripled profits to $US6.33 billion this year as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted an e-commerce boom. CEO Jeff Bezos added more than $US70 billion to his net worth, according to a report from the Institute for Policy Studies.

The company in March increased pay for warehouse workers by $US2 an hour as hazard pay. Amazon ended the benefit in June and has not reinstated hazard pay, despite COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations reaching a record high this winter.


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Warehouse workers have gone on strike and sued the company during the pandemic, alleging Amazon did not protect them enough from COVID-19. Amazon said more than 19,000 workers tested positive for COVID-19 between March 1 and September 19.

Walmart said revenue increased by 5.2% since last year because of increased sales. Online sales surged by 79% for the retailer and 41% at the Walmart-owned Sam’s Club. Walmart announced in December that frontline workers would get $US300 million in bonuses and extended benefits for paid time off because of COVID-19.