After fighting off a union effort at its Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse earlier this month, Amazon on Wednesday said that it will raise wages for more than 500,000 workers in its logistics operations by "between at least 50 cents and $3 an hour."
That is on top of what Darcie Henry, Amazon vice president of People eXperience and Technology, Worldwide Consumer, said in a blog post is "our already industry-leading starting wage of at least $15 an hour and the more than $2.5 billion that we invested last year in additional bonuses and incentives for front-line teams."
Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which led the effort in Alabama, took issue with that characterization in March, noting that Amazon's wages are "below what workers in nearby unionized warehouses receive and below Alabama's median wage."
In explaining the RWDSU's failure to organize warehouse employees in Alabama, some observers have speculated that Amazon workers may have deemed the company's wage and benefits package generous enough to preclude the need for a union. In any case, Amazon apparently sees the need for the package to be improved.
"These jobs come with a range of great benefits, like medical, dental, and vision coverage, parental leave, ways to save for the future, and opportunities for career advancement—all in a safe and inclusive environment that's been ranked among the best workplaces in the world," Henry also said in the post.
Others see the e-commerce giant's tactics in fighting off the organization effort as the major reason for the union's failure. On April 16, the RWDSU filed 23 objections with the National Labor Relations Board that it said "both separately and cumulatively constitute grounds to set the election aside," including surveillance and threats of job or wage loss, according to an email.
Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the union's charges.
Amazon's announcement of a pay bump was out the same day as a Reuters report that the NLRB has ruled that evidence provided by the union "could be grounds for overturning the vote." The NLRB will hold a hearing on the matter May 7, according to Reuters.