Amazon poll finds most Americans support increasing federal minimum wage to $15

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An Amazon fulfillment center in Dupont, Wash. (GeekWire File Photo)

Eight in 10 Americans believe the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is too low and two thirds support increasing it to $15 an hour. The findings are part of a new study conducted by Amazon and the market research firm Ipsos.

As Congress and the Biden administration face mounting pressure to address the fact that there has not been a wage hike in 12 years, the poll of more than 6,000 Americans sheds light on where public sentiment lies.

Other findings of the study include:

  • The majority of Americans believe raising the minimum wage would have a positive impact on employees in general (70%), the country (55%), their community (54%), and the economy (54%).
  • Eight in 10 Americans believe large employers should play a role in raising the federal minimum wage. When compared to politicians and policymakers (73%), advocacy groups (69%), and the media (51%), more Americans think large employers (80%) should play a role.

Amazon raised its minimum wage for all U.S. employees to at least $15 an hour in 2018 and has been waging a public relations campaign to get other large employers and the federal government to follow suit.

“Offering jobs with industry-leading pay and great healthcare, including to entry-level and front-line employees, is even more meaningful in a time like this,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said last fall as the company touted its massive growth and demand for its services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amazon pointed to another recent study that showed that by boosting its own minimum wage, other low-wage workers in the same community saw a rise in pay. Economists at the University of California-Berkeley and Brandeis University found that a 10% increase in the Amazon hourly wage resulted in a 2.6% increase in the average hourly wage among other employers in the same labor market.

Amazon’s push for the wage increase comes at a time when the company is battling another labor issue — the effort to unionize by Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Ala.

Amazon has fought back against the efforts at its fulfillment centers, with The Washington Post reporting last week that tech giant is engaging in “hard-nosed” anti-union tactics. The New York Times dug deeper on past Amazon tactics in a report Tuesday headlined “How Amazon Crushes Unions,” about the company’s behavior at a facility in Virginia.

Read more about the Amazon/Ipsos poll and methodology here.

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