Amazon’s minimum wage was just increased… but what insights does it offer? 

Amazon recently raised its hourly minimum wage pay to $15 for all employees. This will affect 250,000 employees, and an additional 100,000 seasonal employees (TechCrunch.com). Reporters from online news sources such as The New York Times and The Independent have spoken out about the adjustments, and many of their articles feature the opinions of Amazon workers. Many Amazon employees are unhappy, rightfully so, because they worry the new wage system will decrease their total compensation and lead to a loss of thousands of dollars per year. Individuals in Governor Livingston had a variety of opinions regarding the change. 

Some argue that Amazon’s adjustment will undermine incentives to work, and eliminate aspects of work such as monthly bonuses. A Governor Livingston sophomore anonymously shared her opinion on minimum wage, stating that it should not be raised, and especially should not be raised above the poverty line. She added, “A lower wage allows for employers to hire more people and provide incentives to work towards advancements and skilled jobs.” Sophomore Hayden Sobel had a different take on minimum wage, believing that for moral reasons it should be raised above the poverty line. He explained that some people who argue that raising the minimum wage would be harmful “have not experienced what it is like to live with such a low wage.” 

Sign Up for E-News

Governor Livingston economics teacher Mrs. Megan Wranitz took a position similar to Hayden’s, believing these changes will be more beneficial. She stated, “a constant higher wage will be more reliable than the unpredictability of compensating with a stock package.” Wranitz speculates on what the ideal system would be for the future, stating that in the long run it would be more favorable to have stability in salaries, rather than hoping to receive stock grants or compensation. In her opinion, a more reliable system includes the majority of workers receiving a guaranteed set pay. Wranitz also mentioned that in her classes, controversial topics such as minimum wage provide for good arguments and the development of interesting perspectives. 

The timing of Amazon’s wage increase aligns perfectly with a debate that the Intro to Economics class will be taking part in on Friday. Introduction to Economics is an elective course that goes in depth on modern day issues and how they relate back to the government, money, and other sources. The debate the class will participate in is centered around whether or not minimum wage should be raised above the poverty line, which would make the hourly rate similar to that of Amazon’s. The opinions of one Introduction to Economics class seemed to be split down the middle, but students have shown excitement towards researching and sharing their views. 

Editor's Note: The Highlander section features articles written for The Highlander, Gov. Livingston High School's student newspaper.