What is the Real Motivation Behind Amazon's Minimum Wage Campaign?
Amazon wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $15. The company has even placed advertisements and opinion pieces in support of the idea. It’s small competitors and their employees who will pay the price.
Amazon executives know the $15 minimum wage will be the nail in their competitor’s coffin.
Seattle has shown America what happens to Main Street when the minimum wage jumps to $15 an hour. Small businesses get crushed. By demanding all businesses — no matter how small or no matter where they are in the US — raise their wage to $15, Amazon knows small businesses would suffer the most. As would those businesses in low-cost states. So while forcing Main Street mom and pop stores out of business may not have been Amazon’s intent, it surely was an added benefit.
A $15 minimum wage will devastate small businesses.
While Amazon may be able to foot the bill for a $15 minimum wage, not every business is so fortunate.
Mom-and-pop shops will be killed off by the thousands. The bookstores, shoe stores, and other shops that have lined Main Street for generations will vanish. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the $15 minimum wage could kill between 1.0 million and 2.7 million jobs.
The restaurants, which have already suffered under endless COVID-19 regulations, will be the hardest hit. Restaurants employ three out of every five minimum wage workers, though many of those workers also earn tips. Many of these minimum wage jobs are concentrated in states with lower costs of living. Amazon wants all businesses treated like they are headquartered in Seattle.
If Amazon gets what it wants, small businesses will suffer. Nearly half of the businesses affected by minimum wage increases have fewer than 100 employees. They cannot afford to have their wage expenses nearly double to meet Amazon’s demand for a $15 minimum wage, especially after barely surviving the pandemic in 2020.
Amazon is not the benevolent corporation it paints itself to be.
When Amazon raised its minimum wage in 2018, many workers ended up with less money than they had before. After it raised its wages, Amazon halted its monthly bonuses and stopped dolling out shares of the company to employees. (Shares of Amazon have nearly tripled in value since 2018.)
Amazon workers qualify for food stamps in nine states. In fact, Amazon has one of the biggest employee populations on food stamps in the nation. Amazon could address this problem, but instead, it’s spending money to tell Congress to regulate how other companies compensate their workers.
And while Amazon is trying to tell other companies how to pay their workers, it has lobbied the National Labor Relations Board to try to stop a vote to unionize the workers in a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama.
Don’t be fooled by Amazon’s advocacy.
Amazon wants Congress to rush through a minimum wage mandate requiring all businesses to pay a $15 per hour minimum wage.
There are real implications to nearly doubling the minimum wage throughout the country. Small businesses will suffer and many jobs will be lost. This is a policy change that must be thoughtfully considered and not forced into law because some corporate executives felt like $15 was the right wage to crush their competition.
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