Amazon will extend its $2 an hour hazard pay for warehouse workers of in the U.S. through the end of May, but the wage hike will end at the beginning of June.
Workers currently making $17 an hour working due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will go back to making $15 per hour at the start of the month, Recode first reported.
“We’re going to do one more extension on it and push it out until the end of the month,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, told Recode.
When asked why the wage hike would be ending in June, or whether the company thought that the risks presented by the coronavirus pandemic would be lessened in a few weeks, an Amazon spokesperson told Digital Trends they were also extending double overtime pay in the U.S. and Canada and “providing flexibility with leave of absence options.”
“We continue to see heavy demand during this difficult time and the team is doing incredible work for our customers and the community,” spokesman Timothy Carter said in an email.
In a statement to Digital Trends, Amazon warehouse worker Monica Moody said she was glad Amazon was listening to worker demands for more hazard pay, but it wasn’t enough.
“Let’s be real: two weeks of extra pay isn’t close to what we need,” Moody said through the Athena Coalition, a conglomerate of social justice groups lobbying for better pay and conditions for Amazon workers. “We are literally watching each other get sick every day, and it’s not slowing down.
“At a minimum, hazard pay should be extended for the entire length of this pandemic,” Moody continued. “If we are putting our lives at risk to pack and deliver Amazon packages, we deserve to be paid for it.”
Amazon first announced it would institute this wage hike in mid-March, as well as hire 100,000 new full- and part-time workers across the country, as the online retail giant was ramping up shipping. The company said that it would institute these wage hikes through the end of April, and the later twice extended the policy to ultimately last through the end of May. At the time when Amazon first made the announcement, the country was shutting down and life was moving inside and online as the U.S. went into quarantine due to the spread of COVID-19.
The subsequent increase in ordering volumes also meant increased demands on workers, who circulated an open letter last March to CEO Jeff Bezos demanding better worker protections, not just more pay. Bezos has been under pressure on several sides from his workers, especially in regard to community health and climate change.
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