At the new pay rate, an Amazon employee who makes minimum wage would need to work more than 3 weeks (133 hours) to buy one share of the company's stock, which now sits above $2,000.
In response to Sanders and other critics, Amazon had previously said employees in its warehouses were paid an average of $15 if stock-based compensation and bonuses were included, without breaking out their underlying hourly wage.
Competition among companies for qualified workers is growing more intense, and they are increasingly willing to pay. As Bloomberg News reported in April, "Amazon is now the second-largest private employer in the USA behind Walmart Inc".
Amazon's market capitalization now stands near $1 trillion; it paid Bezos, its founder and CEO, $1.68 million a year ago. The company is led by Jeff Bezos, who is the world's richest man with a net worth of $150 billion, according to Forbes. Bernie Sanders in recent months added his voice to the criticism, targeting the company and its leader by name with legislation that would tax companies the cost of the food stamps and other federal assistance provided to their employees. That revelation came from The Intercept, which reported that in four out of the five states that provided data, Amazon was one of the top employers of SNAP recipients. This will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees who will be hired at Amazon sites across the country this holiday.
Amazon said it wants to convince lawmakers to boost the federal minimum wage. And in that time, the rate "has lost about 9.6 percent of its purchasing power to inflation", the Pew Research Center said past year. The company has named 20 cities as finalists, including Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Workers across the country have pushed for a $15 minimum wage as they have drawn attention to growing income inequality. But in two states (Georgia and Wyoming), it's lower, at $5.15. It also applies to workers at subsidiaries such as Whole Foods.
Retailer Target Corp raised its minimum hourly wage last year to $11 and promised to raise it to $15 an hour by the end of 2020, while the world's largest retailer Walmart raised its minimum wage to $11 an hour earlier this year.