Amazon announced on Tuesday that it is raising its hourly minimum wage to $15 per hour for all full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees across the United States.
The wage hike is set to take effect on November 1 and will benefit the more than 250,000 employees.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, said in a statement.
“We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us,” he added.
The move comes after repeated attacks from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) who has called out Amazon and Bezos following reports that some workers claimed they received unlivable wages.
Earlier this month, Sanders introduced legislation that would charge large companies like Amazon for the federal welfare programs that support their low wage workers.
In a letter to the Amazon CEO in June, Sanders shared stories his staff had heard from Amazon employees who said they were struggling.
“My staff have spoken with Amazon workers who are homeless, who are hungry, who are suffering and in pain,” Sanders wrote. “The people you employ who spend 10 or more hours a night running, bending, lifting, and packing up our new electronic gadgets, baby clothes, dog treats and kitchen appliances — many of these workers struggle to pay their rent, put food on the table, send their kids to college or afford their medical bills.”
“We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage. The current rate of $7.25 was set nearly a decade ago,” Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vice president of global corporate affairs, said in the statement.
“We intend to advocate for a minimum wage increase that will have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people and families across this country,” he continued.