Amazon increases minimum wage for all U.S. employees to $15 an hour

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Bernie Sanders and others, Amazon stressed that the number reflects its employees' pay worldwide; the median salary for a full time employee in the US, the company said, is $34,123 - a figure it said should be compared to other retailers.

"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead", said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a press release.

"Today I want to give credit where credit is due, and that is that Mr. Bezos and Amazon have done the right thing", Sanders said in an interview Tuesday.

E-retailing giant, Amazon, is increasing the wages of hundreds of thousands of its staff in the U.S and the United Kingdom.

Amazon encouraged other large U.S. employers to follow its lead, and said it would lobby USA lawmakers for an increase in the federal minimum wage, now at only $7.25.

"We will be working to gain Congressional support for an increase in the federal minimum wage".

"We intend to advocate for a minimum wage increase that will have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people and families across this country", Jay Carney, Amazon's head of global corporate affairs, said in the statement.

From state to state, the minimum wage varies widely.

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The company said it was raising its minimum wage, including for part-time, temporary and seasonal employees, beginning next month - and lobbying for a national hike in the federal minimum wage.

Workers have been protesting against fast food chains like McDonald's Corp and demanding wage increases since 2012. The median Amazon worker was paid $28,446 a year ago, according to company filings, which translates to about $13.68 an hour.

Other companies also have moved to raise wages as the unemployment rate, now 3.9 percent, falls to historic lows.

Retailer Target Corp raised its minimum hourly wage last year to $11 and promised to raise it to $15 an hour by the end of 2020, while the world's largest retailer Walmart raised its minimum wage to $11 an hour earlier this year.

Amazon is also increasing wages in some areas outside the U.S. The company announced that the minimum wage will be 10.50 pounds an hour in London and 9.50 pounds in other parts of the UK.

At the new pay rate, an Amazon employee who makes minimum wage would need to work more than 3 weeks (133 hours) to buy one share of the company's stock, which now sits above $2,000.

With two fulfillment centers, a delivery station and a warehouse in Jacksonville, Amazon recruited for about 4,000 jobs on the First Coast a year ago.

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