Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, not convinced Amazon’s minimum wage increase to $15 an hour will lift total compensation among all employees, has sent another letter to the e-commerce giant requesting more information.
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While Amazon announced it would be raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour for its 350,000 full-time, part-time and temporary workers earlier this month, there have since been concerns raised that some employees could actually end up earning less in total compensation. That’s because the company is cutting stock options and monthly bonuses for some employees.
Sanders, who was notified of the issue by workers, sent a letter to the company late last week asking how employees who would have received those stock options would be affected, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. The Vermont senator’s office said he has not yet received a response to his inquiry.
A number of employees interviewed by The Times, which also reviewed their pay stubs, said they expected their compensation to be reduced.
Amazon reiterated in a comment to FOX Business on Tuesday that the increase in wages outweighs other changes to its compensation structure.
"All hourly Operations and Customer Service employees will see an increase in their total compensation as a result of this announcement," a spokesperson for the company said. "The significant increase in hourly cash wages effective November 1 more than compensates for the phase out of incentive pay and future RSU grants."
Sanders, who has been critical of Amazon’s pay practices, initially praised the move to a $15 minimum wage “as enormously important” – before learning of the other compensation cuts.
In the past, Sanders has called out CEO Jeff Bezos for keeping wages low while raking in vast amounts of personal wealth.
“We have one person whose wealth is increasing by $250 million every single day, while he pays thousands of his workers’ wages that are so low that they are forced to go on food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing,” Sanders said, referring to Bezos.
Early last month, Sanders upped his push for big corporations like Amazon to pay employees a livable wage when he unveiled the “Stop BEZOS Act,” which would impose a 100 percent welfare tax on large employers equal to the amount that their workers receive in public assistance benefits.