Amazon has been advertising its $15 minimum wage. It’s still driving down pay across the warehousing industry.

In recent weeks, Amazon has embarked on an advertising blitz, trumpeting its oh-so-progressive adoption of the $15 minimum wage back in 2018. Coincidentally (or not), this change came after we reported thousands of its employees were reliant on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to pay their grocery bills. As Vice reports, this messaging blitz serves many of Amazon’s PR goals: It positions the company as pro-worker even as Amazon fights a vicious battle against unionization. It advertises its pay rate to workers who may have lost their jobs due to Covid-19. And it neatly aligns the company’s front-facing values with those of the party that just took power in Congress and the White House. Conversely, research suggests Amazon’s $15 wages are actually driving down pay across the warehousing industry. As for the pro-worker thing—well, we’d encourage you to read the lawsuit filed by New York’s attorney general about the company’s failures to protect employees from Covid-19. Last but not least, a November report from a federal watchdog found that Amazon was still a major employer of SNAP recipients, two years after it raised its base wages.

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