Amazon pay raise backlash forces retailer to also boost what longtime workers get

Amazon, facing a backlash from longtime warehouse workers who say its $15 hourly minimum wage for new employees wouldn't benefit them, will now provide a bigger raise.

The company said Wednesday that "slight adjustments" are being made this week, and workers who already made $15 an hour will get more than the $1 an hour raise promised last week. The company said the raise will differ by warehouse and affect a small amount of employees, but declined to say how many.

A worker at a Maryland warehouse, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity for fear of being fired, said employees were told Tuesday that they would now get a raise of $1.25 an hour after Nov. 1. That's 25 cents more an hour than what they were told last week.

The worker said they were also told they would get cash payouts for reaching certain milestones. They'll receive $1,500 for staying with the company for five years and $3,000 after reaching their 10-, 15- and 20-year anniversaries. Previously, the company gave those workers one or two shares of Amazon stock after each of those anniversaries.

Amazon shares were trading around $1,800 this week, compared with a 52-week high of $2,050 and a 52-week low of $962.50.

The company's minimum wage is set to rise to $15 an hour on Nov. 1 for all U.S. workers, including part-time and temporary holiday employees. Amazon's move comes after the company faced criticism over its pay and treatment of employees, including warehouse workers.   

Amazon said the $15 minimum wage will apply to more than 250,000 employees and 100,000 seasonal holiday employees, including workers at Whole Foods. Workers hired by temp agencies will also receive the $15-per-hour wage. The typical entry-level wage for warehouse workers is about $11 an hour, although it varies by location. The company also said it would push to raise the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.