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Amazon to raise hourly base pay for most workers to $19

Yahoo Finance's Allie Garfinkle discusses Amazon raising its base pay, additional investment, and lawmakers asking the FTC to block the tech giant's acquisition of iRobot.

Video transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Workers are getting a pay bump ahead of the holiday season. The group raising average base pay for frontline workers to $19 an hour, that includes workers in warehousing and transportation. That story that Allie is following today. It's been a busy 24 hours when it comes to Amazon, but on this specific issue, certainly the company has been facing pressure from the unionization to increase those benefits and pay. How significant is this pay bump?

ALLIE GARFINKLE: I would say it's pretty significant on a couple of levels, right? They're planning to spend more than a billion dollars over the course of the next year to hike pay for both warehouse and delivery workers, which I think is key. But I also think it's important to talk about the timing here, Akiko, right? We're heading into this holiday season in a historically tight labor market in a really difficult macroeconomic environment.

And Amazon jobs haven't exactly gotten a lot of good press lately. The rise of the Amazon labor union and the fact that Amazon failed to win the case to overturn that union vote, it means that-- to me, at least, what it means is that Amazon is really looking to boost its image as a good employer.

AKIKO FUJITA: And what better way to do it, especially during the holiday season when they do tend to ramp up? Brad talked about the regulatory headlines there. We've now got those headlines coming from Senator Elizabeth Warren, asking the FTC to block this latest acquisition of iRobot. What does this mean moving forward?

ALLIE GARFINKLE: You know, I think there are kind of a couple of things, right? I think it's interesting that they zeroed in on iRobot, but it's important to remember here, too, that FTC chair Lina Khan, she actually is partially became famous for her antitrust writings on Amazon. So Liz Warren kind of getting involved, this group of senators getting involved, feels really telling to me, especially because Khan really is at a moment where she sort of has to decide whether she wants to challenge the iRobot deal and the One Medical deal, one, both, either.

At the same time, we're also, I think, seeing a lot of pressure out of Washington towards Amazon. That 15% corporate minimum tax that President Biden signed into last month, there are studies that are saying that Amazon is most likely to get hit hardest, along with Berkshire Hathaway. So I would say, Washington's really zeroing in on Amazon right now. And we're going to have to see where it goes. But I imagine it's going to up pressure on a company that has a lot going on.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, you'd imagine that they have pushed forward many arguments against Amazon. Curious to see which one actually sticks moving forward. Allie Garfinkle, as always, thanks so much for that.