Amazon is raising its minimum wage for all employees to $15, a bump that could have implications throughout the US workforce. The raise, effective at the start of next month, will cover 250,000 workers and 100,000 seasonal employees, reports the Wall Street Journal. The company has been under fire from critics—notably Bernie Sanders—for making a fortune while paying its warehouse workers so little that they often need federal assistance, notes CNN. Amazon says it will also lobby to have the federal minimum wage increased from its current $7.25 per hour.
"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead," says CEO Jeff Bezos, who Reuters notes is the richest man in the world with a net worth of $150 billion. "We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us." The move comes amid a national push to have fast-food restaurants and other blue-collar employers pay workers $15 an hour. Target, for example, plans to reach that figure by 2020, and Disneyland and Disney World by 2021. Walmart, which has 1 million workers, raised its minimum wage to $11 earlier this year. (Read more Amazon stories.)