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Amazon boosts average starting hourly pay to $19 for front-line workers as union campaigns escalate

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Amazon, facing an unprecedented push by labor unions inside its vast fulfilment network, says it will an spend an additional $1 billion over the next year to increase average starting pay for front-line workers to $19 per hour.

The average starting pay was previously $18 per hour, Amazon said. With the pay increase, the company said U.S. workers will make between $16 and $26 per hour depending on their position and geographic location.

In addition, Amazon says it’s extending its “Anytime Pay” program to all U.S. employees, including operations, corporate and tech workers. This initiative lets employees receive up to 70% of earned pay at any time without fees, rather than getting paid once or twice a month as they did previously.

The company is also expanding a career advancement programs to include an Amazon Intelligence Initiative that places employees in Amazon Web Services engineering roles after a 12- to 14-month technical development program.

National leaders and members of the Teamsters union marched past Amazon’s Seattle headquarters last week as part of a new push to organize Amazon workers. Workers at the company’s Staten Island, N.Y., warehouse voted to unionize in April, although Amazon CEO Andy Jassy signaled recently that the company will continue to appeal the outcome, citing “a lot of very disturbing irregularities.”

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