The response from various conservatives that I’ve seen to this news from Amazon is the correct first reaction:
Amazon is boosting its minimum wage for all U.S. workers to $15 per hour starting next month.
The company said Tuesday that the wage hike will benefit more than 350,000 workers, which includes full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal positions. It includes Whole Foods employees. Amazon’s hourly operations and customer service employees, some who already make $15 per hour, will also see a wage increase, the Seattle-based company said.
To this, many conservatives might say, sarcastically: Wait… what? Doesn’t this sort of thing require politicians to go out and fight the greedy corporations, forcing them to dig up the money they’ve buried in the corporate courtyard? No, of course not. This is how it ought to happen, with companies competing for employees and making such decisions in light of their own, very specific, circumstances.
The second response, though, should be to question whether this is part of a bare-knuckle attempt to knock out competition. Step 1 is to raise the company’s pay beyond what competitors can afford. Step 2:
Amazon said its public policy team will start pushing for an increase in the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Amazon isn’t just saying that it is willing to do this for employees, but that everybody should have to. The company may not be content to compete for workers, because after all, there are plenty of people out there willing to work for less if a job otherwise fits their skill sets and particular needs and interests. Rather, this may be an attempt to put competitors out of business altogether, or at least hinder their ability to sneak up on the retail giant.
While Amazon puts on a pro-worker face, it is working to ensure that workers have fewer employment options.