By Wyatt Boelens
Earlier this week, the conglomerate company Amazon just made public its decision to raise wages for British and American workers to $15. In the past few years, Amazon has been in hot water with the public regarding mistreating and underpaying its employees. According to The Guardian, undercover reports have found some employees urinating in bottles to maintain a high productivity rate. Although Amazon hasn’t had the best track record in this area, recent events like this show that the company has not taken its criticisms lightly. Its new policy will be instated as of November 1st this year. This directly benefits the lives and families of over 350,000 workers in the US alone. Jeff Bezos stated earlier: “We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead.” Bezos went on to encourage other large companies to follow suit, like Walmart and Target who have already begun to raise their employees to pay well above minimum wage. But what does this mean for us?
As young adults on the cusp of our lives outside the education system, we will be in search of work. Whether it be in the form of full time, part-time, or an internship, we all need to find work. With companies like Amazon leading the charge in the fight for increasing minimum wages, is it crazy to think that our salaries may increase as well? For those of us who are looking for jobs at Amazon, Walmart, or Target it is highly likely that it will mean more money. Basic economics tell us if the people at the bottom of an organization are being paid more, everyone else above them will see increased salaries as well. But will it affect other industries as well? Over the past few years, it has become an ever-increasing debate of whether to federally raise minimum wages, or not. In the free market system, we live and work in companies can choose exactly how much to pay its employees, if it is above what the Government has deemed as the lowest livable income level is.
Under this system we have competition, and now that companies like Amazon are raising its minimum wages, it will be attracting far more applicants than before. This will allow Amazon to pick and choose the best employees, and other companies will have to learn how to compete with that, all while keeping the company profitable. So, for those of us who are looking for jobs where they are paid by the hour, this may mean more money for us as companies begin to compete more and more over quality employees. While for those who are looking for full-time work, unfortunately, it seems unlikely that salaries will increase, even within these companies. Since hourly wages are treated differently than full-time salaries that are defined by contractual agreements.