Amazon announces minimum wage increase as hiring begins at Memphis Distribution Center

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Amazon announced it's boosting its minimum wage for all U.S. workers the same day hiring at its Memphis location is set to begin.

The retail giant with distribution facilities in Memphis is raising the wage to $15 per hour starting next month. The company said the wage hike will benefit more than 350,000 workers, which includes full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal positions.

In late September, Amazon announced it would be hiring more than 1,500 full-time and part-time positions at their distribution center and sortation centers, both located in Southeast Memphis.

In a statement, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said, “We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead ... We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.”

That’s exactly what fast-food worker Jalen Walker is hoping for.

“If Amazon can get their workers to $15 an hour, McDonalds and all the other corporate, fast food  workers can start with $15 an hour too,” he said.

Walker used to work at CookOut, then switched to Burgerim. He says even a 50 cent raise is making a big difference.

“When I was getting paid every two weeks at CookOut, my checks were like $210. But now that I'm getting paid $8.50 every two weeks at Burgerim, my last check was $269.”

But Fight for 15 leader Antonio Cathey points out that $15 an hour is just a start.

“It only brings you to $30,000 a year," he said.

He just hopes the food industry takes notice of what their peers in tech are doing.

Open positions at the Amazon sortation center can be found online now and open positions at the receive center will be listed starting Oct. 2.

Candidates must be 18 years or older and have a high school diploma or equivalent to be considered. All interested candidates need to apply online where they will also indicate a shift preference and select an appointment time to attend an upcoming hiring event and orientation. Shift schedules will vary. Veterans and military spouses are encouraged to apply.

Amazon associates receive competitive wages and comprehensive benefits. Full-time associates benefits include healthcare starting on day one, up to 20 weeks paid parental leave, 401(k) and company stock awards. Amazon also offers hourly employees the innovative Career Choice program that pre-pays 95 percent of the cost of tuition for employees to pursue courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon.

Pay for workers at Amazon can vary by location. Its starting pay is $10 an hour at a warehouse in Austin, Texas, and $13.50 an hour in Robbinsville, New Jersey. The median pay for an Amazon employee last year was $28,446, according to government filings, which includes full-time, part-time and temporary workers.

Amazon has more than 575,000 employees globally.

If you would like to apply, click here.

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