A Win For Workers Rights: Amazon Raises Its Minimum Wage To $15 An Hour

Ione Dellos, Copy Editor

It was a blisteringly hot day in Chester, Virginia. In an Amazon fulfillment center, a young
‘picker’ named Nicole was working on the floor of the center. “Pickers” walk for miles around the
warehouse with packages and other deliveries, working long hours with little breaks. Feeling drained
from the intense temperatures of the warehouse, she asked the management to turn up the A.C. Her
request was denied, as Amazon’s persistent efforts to make their warehouses as cheap as possible include
sparse usage of heating or cooling systems. As a direct result of this refusal, Nicole suffered an extreme
bout of heatstroke and nearly passed out. Amazon gave her 20 minutes to recuperate and get back to
work, despite the fact that medical officials warned that she could potentially suffer from fatal heat stroke
if she kept working. As of October 2018, Nicole has been unable to seek medical attention because the
corporation ignored a report she filed of the incident.
Following sustained pressure from Democrat Bernie Sanders, Amazon will pay all of it’s US
employees $15 dollars an hour, which the e-commerce giant expects will effect more than 250,000
workers. Before this monumental change, the median annual salary for an Amazon worker was only
$28,000 dollars a year, or roughly $2,333 a month. While that may seem like a lot, when rent, bills, your
monthly grocery budget, and other miscellaneous costs are accounted for, it dwindles away quickly.
When all of that is spent, you’ll have little to no money left. Due to these conditions, one in three Amazon
workers in Arizona are on public assistance. To put things into perspective, Jeff Bezos makes a worker’s
annual salary in 9 seconds. An Amazon worker earning the $15 minimum wage would have to work
597,412 hours (24 hours a day for nearly 68 years) to make what Bezos makes in an hour.
This is why the minimum wage raise for Amazon is a positive thing, because they are trying to set
a new standard for other e-commerce giants. While the company isn’t perfect and hasn’t put out new
plans for bettering the quality of life of their workers, or set plans for allowing their workers to take
bathroom breaks and not have to pee in garbage cans, this is a hopeful step in the right direction. The
future is watching you, Amazon. Choose wisely.