(CBS)–Amazon said it will increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all U.S. workers, including part-time and temporary holiday employees.
The higher minimum wage, which will go into effect on Nov. 1, comes after the company faced criticism over its pay and treatment of employees. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I.-Vermont,for paying wages that he said left its employees relying on public assistance for food and shelter, even as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos now stands as the world’s richest man.
Amazon said the $15 minimum wage will apply to more than 250,000 employees and 100,000 seasonal holiday employees. Workers hired by temp agencies will also receive the $15-per-hour wage. The company also said it would push to raise the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
Chicago remains in the running for Amazon’s corporate office search for a second headquarters. The new office, dubbed HQ2, would employ as many as 50,000 office employees on an 8 million-square-foot campus.
The Windy City has been on the radar of Amazon, which opened a cashierless Amazon Go store in Chicago in September. It’s the company’s fourth-ever Amazon Go store location.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do and decided we want to lead,” Bezos said in a statement. “We’re excited about this change, and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”
The median pay for an Amazon employee last year was $28,446, although that includes executives and other non-warehouse workers, according to government filings. Amazon has a total of more than 575,000 employees around the world.
Amazon said it wants to convince lawmakers to boost the federal minimum wage.
“The current rate of $7.25 was set nearly a decade ago,” said Jay Carney, senior vice president of Amazon Global Corporate Affairs, in the statement. “We intend to advocate for a minimum wage increase that will have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people and families across this country.”
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.