Amazon to boost front-line workers’ average hourly pay by $1 to $19

SEATTLE — Warehouse and delivery drivers for Amazon will soon see a pay bump as the online retail giant prepares for the pending holiday crunch amid a tight labor market.

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Seattle-based Amazon’s average starting pay for front-line U.S. employees will increase to more than $19 per hour from $18 per hour, the company confirmed Wednesday in a blog post.

The pay bump, which takes effect Saturday, means Amazon’s minimum wage for U.S. employees remains $15 an hour, but warehouse and delivery workers will now earn between $$16 and $26 per hour, depending on their positions and locations, CNBC reported.

The commitment represents a nearly $1 billion investment over the next year and is intended in the short term to better position the online retailer to handle its pending “peak” holiday shopping season, the network reported.

The wage increase coincides with Amazon’s plan to offer a second Prime Day-like shopping event from Oct. 11-12. It also comes as the retailer contends with a growing unionization movement inside its warehouses, driven by worker complaints regarding pay and working conditions, Fox Business reported.

Alongside the pay increase, Amazon said it is also expanding a payday advance program for its employees that allows them to access up to 70% of their eligible earned pay whenever they choose and without fees, CNBC reported.

“Continuing to invest in pay, providing easy access to earned wages at any time during the month and offering great benefits and career advancement opportunities are all part of our long-term efforts to be the best employer in the world,” John Felton, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, stated in the blog post.

Amazon employed roughly 1.5 million workers in the U.S. as of the end of June, Fox Business reported.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.