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Jeff Bezos Dares Amazon's Rivals to Raise Minimum Wage

Jeff Bezos Dares Amazon's Rivals to Raise Minimum Wage
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By    |   Thursday, 11 April 2019 08:20 AM

Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos on Thursday challenged rival retailers to increase their minimum wages to $16 an hour.

"Today I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our $15 minimum wage," the billionaire entrepreneur said in a letter here to shareholders.

“Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us.”

The online retailer giant (AMZN) raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour for U.S. employees from November, giving in to critics of poor pay and working conditions at the company.

Amazon’s wage hike came at a time when U.S. unemployment was at a near two-decade low as retailers and shippers were competing for hundreds of thousands of workers for the all-important holiday shopping season.

Bezos said in his letter that the wage hike has benefited more than 250,000 Amazon employees and over 100,000 seasonal employees who worked during the last holiday season at Amazon sites in the United States.

Amazon’s third party sales in 2018 accounted for 58 percent of total sales, up from 56 percent in 2017, Bezos said.

This was Bezos’s first shareholder letter since his personal affairs became tabloid fodder. The CEO in January announced his divorce from his wife of 25 years, Mackenzie Bezos, and the couple last week announced a settlement that leaves Bezos with 75 percent of their stock in the company. He remains Amazon’s biggest shareholder.

Bezos made no direct mention of the divorce in his annual letter, maintaining distance between the company’s operations and his personal life.

Bezos includes his 1997 shareholder letter to remind investors of his ability to capitalize on how the internet would change the nature of shopping. His strategy and outlook have developed a cult-like following similar to that of Warren Buffett, whose annual letters to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. investors are must-reads for those looking to understand the economy and Buffett’s investment strategy.

Material from Bloomberg and Reuters has been used in this report.

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Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is daring rival retailers to raise their minimum wage to $16 an hour.
jeff bezos, retail, rivals, minimum, wage, investor, letter
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2019-20-11
Thursday, 11 April 2019 08:20 AM
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