Jeff Bezos seems to have made certain people in Washington (DC) quite happy last week. Of course, our red flags always go up with any announcement.
The big news was that Amazon has agreed to give all warehouse workers a $15 an hour minimum wage, thus satisfying Bernie Sanders, who had been after the company – and world’s richest man Jeff Bezos – for quite some time. As the AP reported, Amazon jumps out ahead of its rivals and raises wages to $15, and Sander (D, VT), hailed it as “a shot heard round the world.”
Not So Fast…
Before Senator Sanders takes his victory lap, let’s do the math, courtesy of The Verge, who reported that Amazon eliminates monthly bonuses and stock grants after minimum wage increase. “Several Amazon warehouse employees have criticized the move, stating they would actually be losing thousands in incentive pay. Currently, warehouse workers get two shares of Amazon stock when they’re hired ($1,952.76 per share as of writing), and an additional stock option each year. After the changes take effect, the RSU program will be phased out for stocks that vest in 2020 and 2021, and it will be replaced with a direct stock purchase plan by the end of next year.”
Talked to Amazon workers yesterday and it turns out this is a scam. They are taking away certain benefits to offset the costs. In many cases, workers will be earning less. Please don’t buy this hype
Wish more people knew this or could get more attention on this. Have many family members who work at Amazon and they lost a lot yesterday. They were already @ $15 or above (most are at their facility), but lost all incentive and stock programs. They’ll make $3-6k less per yr now.
“Many Amazon warehouse workers are criticizing the pay raise as a publicity move as well as a political play, and it’s to be seen if getting rid of incentive pay is actually in the interest of workers.”
$15 for some means a negative 4k for others. The question is: Who does Amazon’s $15/hour wage really benefit?
What if the stock drops, after all? Or is this stock management shrouded in a $15 PR stunt?
A Better Place?
Time will tell if this is being ahead of the pack and making the world a better place. In fact, in case you missed it, “Former Google boss launches scathing Silicon Valley attack urging tech giants to end the delusion that it’s making the world a better place,” the Daily Mail reports.
Said former Google PR chief Jessica Powell : ‘We go about saying that we’re building these amazing things and doing great things for the world but we’re also causing a lot of serious problems.
Her satirical book, “The Big Disruption: A Totally Fictional but Essentially True Silicon Valley Story,” is free on Medium.
As Powell notes, and heads up to our Congressional representatives who’ve so far given the tech cartel a pass, ‘You can’t go about telling your advertisers that you can target users down to the tiniest pixel, but then throw your hands up in front of the politicians and say your machines can’t figure out if bad actors are using your platform.’
Seems there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the algorithm after all!
The Agenda Economy
The tech sector has long been the agenda economy and before you hold Amazon up as a hero, as @matthewstoller tweeted,
“It’s hard to convey just how much oppression Amazon is engaged in. They steal from small businesses, merchants, big businesses, the government, local governments. It is a private government system designed to rule.”
If they stop there, before they’re stopped.
It seems that Google has China squarely in its sites. If you’re wondering where the next Amazon headquarters will be, dollars to donuts, Mr. Bezos goes to Washington. Onward and forward.