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Councilmember Sawant Responds to Amazon’s Announcement on $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage, Monthly Bonuses: ‘Worker Organizing Works, Time to Step up the Struggle!’

Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle) released the following statement in response to Amazon’s announcement on Wednesday October 10th that it will put in place additional pay raises to those workers who would have lost monthly bonuses and stock grants.  The announcement came on the heels of Amazon’s initial decision to eliminate bonuses and stock grants, while simultaneously raising the minimum wage of all employees to $15 per hour:

“Amazon’s $15 per hour minimum wage did not come from the ‘benevolence’ of Jeff Bezos. This concession was wrested from Amazon through the courage of the warehouse and distribution center workers and by the organizing of social movements. This victory also follows the Tax Amazon struggle for affordable housing in Seattle, the nationwide fight of 15 Now and labor unions for a $15 per hour minimum wage, warehouse worker organizing in the US, strikes of Amazon workers in Spain and other countries, and Senator Bernie Sanders’ Stop Bezos Act, which exposed how Amazon workers are forced to rely on public assistance due to abysmal wages.

“By cutting monthly bonuses to full-time workers at the so-called fulfillment centers while raising the wages of all employees to $15 per hour, Amazon demonstrated clearly how bosses act under capitalism. What the billionaire class is forced to concede with one hand, they try to take back with another. And by pitting the $15/hour wage raise against the bonuses for full-time and more longer-tenured workers, Amazon attempted to engage in classic ‘divide and rule’ tactics to sow division amongst workers.

“Congratulations to the workers who bravely and unhesitatingly spoke up at this sleight of hand by Bezos. As one employee said, ‘It’s not a pay raise. It’s a slap in the face.’  This backlash from workers forced Bezos to back off, thus winning a second victory for Amazon workers in the same week!

“This victory should raise worker confidence and be a call to action to around the US to build the movement for a federal $15 per hour minimum wage, to tax big business, and for Medicare for All. It should be taken as a shot in the arm to step up the fight of warehouse workers at Amazon and across the logistics industry to unionize in their workplaces, and demand healthcare and healthy working conditions.”

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