NEW YORK — Amazon said Wednesday it will raise the average starting wage for frontline workers to $19 an hour from $18, which could help it attract more workers amid a tight labor market as the holiday season approaches .
Starting in October, Amazon said warehouse and shipping workers will be paid between $16 and $26 an hour, depending on their role and location in the United States. It will remain at $15 an hour through the end of June.
The raise comes after Amazon announced it would host a Prime-Day-like holiday shopping event in October, marking the company’s first two major sales increases in a year since July’s Prime Day deals event. Target and Walmart also said last week that they would offer holiday deals or gift returns in October to accommodate cash-strapped consumers who are expected to shop early and spread their spending over the holiday season.
The company is also offering pay raises amid a growing union movement within its warehouses due to worker complaints about wages and working conditions. Next month, Amazon warehouse workers in upstate New York will vote in a union election spearheaded by the Amazon Union, a grassroots group of former and current Amazon workers who met in Staten Island in April. One of the warehouses won a union victory. The nascent union then lost an election at a nearby warehouse.
Amazon last year raised its average hourly wage to $18. It said the new raise will cost $1 billion over the next year.
Separately, the company said its payroll access program, Anytime Pay, will also change, allowing employees to get paid more than once or twice a month.
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