Amazon raises hourly wages for warehouse and shipping workers

© Reuters. The Amazon logo is seen at the company’s fulfillment center in Bretigny-sur-Orge, near Paris, France, on December 7, 2021. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/Files

(Reuters) – The world’s largest online retailer said on Wednesday the average starting salary for warehouse and shipping workers at Amazon.com Inc (Nasdaq: ) would rise from $18 an hour to more than $19 an hour.

The pay rise will help companies attract and retain workers in a tightening U.S. labor market as the gift-giving season approaches.

Amazon said the raise will cost the company nearly $1 billion next year.

The company added that employees will now earn between $16 and $26 an hour, depending on their position and location in the United States.

Amazon’s hourly minimum wage in the U.S. remains $15, a spokesman told Reuters.

The online retailer’s decision also comes as some workers continue to push to unionize Amazon’s U.S. facilities. So far, only one Amazon factory has voted to unionize.

The company is battling soaring inflation and high employee turnover as workers seek higher wages to meet rising living costs.

Amazon had more than 1.5 million full- and part-time employees worldwide in the quarter ended June 30, most of them in the United States.

Earlier on Wednesday, Amazon announced new devices, including a range of voice-controlled devices, an updated e-reader that users can write on and a touchless gadget that can monitor people’s sleep.

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