What $15 an hour means to me

Associates share the personal impact of Amazon’s wage increase.

Supporting a new family with a baby on the way, planning for a teenager’s college education, and buying a new car. These are a few of the things that Amazon associates say will get a little easier now that the company has increased associates’ pay starting today.

In October, Amazon announced it is increasing its minimum wage to $15 per hour for all full-time, part-time, temporary (including those hired by agencies), and seasonal employees across the U.S. The new Amazon $15 minimum wage benefits more than 250,000 employees, as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees who will be hired at Amazon sites across the country this holiday.

In addition to the wage increase, Amazon’s public policy team is advocating for a bump in the federal minimum wage. Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and hasn’t increased since 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Many associates wanted to share what Amazon’s wage increase means to them, and how their families will benefit beginning this month.

An Amazon employee, wearing a long-sleeve tee shirt, black pants and a lanyard stands with his arms crossed. Next to him is a step ladder. Behind him are tall yellow storage stacks.
Yonas, an Amazonian.

Dee is married with two daughters in high school who need a car, or as any parent might say, “want” a car. That’s an added financial stress for Dee on top of paying the usual bills. He had been working two jobs, but now that he’ll be making more at Amazon he says he’ll be able to cut back on the additional work he’s taken on.

Ashley has three kids. She worked in the fast-food industry before coming to Amazon and $15 per hour. Her father is a huge fan of Amazon and encouraged her to apply for a job as an associate when the company moved into Fresno, CA in 2018. She now believes she’s found a job that she can grow with and be proud of for the rest of her life.

Yonas loves the career opportunities he has at Amazon and the work environment is better than any job he’s been in before. He and his girlfriend have a baby on the way and plan to get married. The wage increase comes just in time to help care for his first child. Yonas has a long list of family and friends asking him for help getting a foot in the door at Amazon because they’ve all heard him rave about how proud he is to work there.

A woman stands at a computer terminal. She's wearing a tee shirt and work gloves, and leaning on the desktop. Behind her are yellow totes holding merchandise.
Irma, an Amazonian.

Vanessa and her wife are getting ready to adopt a child and say the added income will help at exactly the moment they need it most. She also has a child in high school and keeping up with the cost of a teenager these days can be challenging. In her last job, Vanessa did not have benefits. She was overjoyed to learn that she would receive full medical benefits beginning on her first day of work with Amazon.

Ray says after 25 years in his previous job, he was laid off and nearly found himself on the streets, along with his family. He says, thanks to Amazon, his family is back on its feet. He loves the camaraderie of working with a team and considers many of his coworkers as close friends.

Irma says there was a time when both she and her husband were unemployed. She now has the financial freedom to breathe a little easier. Getting a raise is allowing Irma to drive a new car. She also says she’ll be able to keep up with bills and put money aside. Her husband is retired from the U.S. Navy and she has a son and daughter.

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