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'It's Just A Poke in The Eye': Amazon Warehouse Workers Slam Small, Hourly Raises The company raised wages for all of its warehouse workers this week by amounts ranging from 50 cents to $1 an hour.

By Gabrielle Bienasz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The most enthusiastic thing that Amazon warehouse worker Paul Blundell has heard about the news that Amazon is raising its hourly wages for workers across the nation: It's better than nothing.

Blundell, a fulfillment associate at a Swedesboro, New Jersey Amazon warehouse, told Entrepreneur that it isn't going to help with today's prices on everything from real estate to groceries.

"This doesn't get anywhere close to keeping up with inflation," Blundell said.

In effect, workers received wage bumps from 50 cents to $1 an hour, per Insider.

The company's minimum wage is still $15 an hour. At Blundell's warehouse, starting pay is $16 and $17 an hour, he said.

Inflation has gone up by 8.3% percent this year. Blundell said most of his coworkers got raises of 40 to 60 cents. For a $17 an-hour wage, for example, a 50 cent an hour raise is about a 3% increase in take-home pay.

Amazon has also faced a growing labor movement in its warehouses and an increasingly discontented workforce. (Blundell is affiliated with Amazonians United, a labor collective of Amazon workers but not a formal union.)

This week, 50 employees at the company's only officially unionized warehouse in Staten Island were suspended for refusing to work after a fire.

The company said the raises will cost $1 billion and bring the company's average national wages to $18 to $19 an hour.

On Thursday, Insider reported that employees were taking to an internal message board to express frustration about the minor raises.

"50 cent raises… Not even a tank of gas," one worker, whose comment the outlet translated from Spanish, wrote.

"I feel disrespected and humiliated," they added.

"Thank you for not showing us how much we are valued," another worker posted on the boards. "This $0.50 raise is a joke and a slap in the face. This company can do better."

Blundell said he understood the frustration in the message boards.

"For how hard we work and the cost of living and inflation, it's just it's a poke in the eye," he said.

The company is "focused on supporting our frontline employees," an Amazon spokesperson said via email. "This adjustment is part of the annual wage review process which aims to ensure hourly pay is in line with what is being paid for comparable work locally."

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

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