Amazon Lobbied for This. Now Its Workers Know

A bill moves through the Washington state legislature
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 9, 2019 10:52 AM CST
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In this file photo, employees walk through a lobby at Amazon's headquarters in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

(Newser) – Many of Amazon's Seattle-area employees would be exempt from new labor protections in a bill passed by the state Senate after lobbyists for the tech giant pushed to change a key threshold in the rules, the AP reports. The protections would partially prohibit non-compete clauses—controversial agreements used by tech companies and others to block employees from going to work for competitors or launching rival startups. Lawmakers say Amazon lobbied to have the income threshold set at a level that would likely exempt many workers in Seattle. The effort came as the company has expanded its presence in the state capital of Olympia, where its spending has tripled in recent years.

The bill passed the Washington state Senate Tuesday with the salary threshold set at $100,000—the level sought by Amazon. Employees above the threshold would be exempted from the labor protection. The original wage threshold in the measure was about $180,000. The median salary for Amazon employees in Seattle is about $113,000, according to Glassdoor.com, a company that tracks top firms. Other provisions require some protections for workers making more than $100,000, including an 18-month limit on any non-compete clauses they sign and a requirement that employees must be compensated while they are barred from working. The measure now heads to the state House for consideration.

(Read more Amazon stories.)

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