Report: Thousands of Amazon warehouse employees depend on SNAP benefits
- A significant number of Amazon fulfillment workers are reportedly dependent on public assistance in the form of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), according to public records obtained by The Intercept.
- The exact count of SNAP-dependent Amazon employees varies from state to state; one in three Amazon workers in Arizona depends on the program, according to the Intercept, while the same figure stands at one in 10 in both Pennsylvania and Ohio. This amounts to a "double subsidy," the Intercept says, because Amazon promises jobs to low-skilled workers in exchange for tax subsidies to build its warehouses even though government assistance must compensate for pay practices that don't provide many employees a living wage.
- In a statement to Gizmodo, the ecommerce giant said it had created 130,000 new jobs in 2017 alone, adding that fulfillment center workers are offered "highly competitive pay and full benefits" with an average pay rate of $15/hr before overtime; cash, stock and incentive bonuses; health insurance, dental and vision coverage; a retirement plan; parental leave; and its Career Choice skills training program.
Amazon isn't alone. Many U.S. retail industry chains controversially depend on low-wage workers who may qualify for government assistance programs like SNAP, even as a host of retailers have raised wages and expanded benefits for hourly staff. But the reports add on to ongoing labor scrutiny directed at the ecommerce company, which has been accused of poor working conditions at some of its fulfillment centers.
Statistically, Amazon has been a job creator in the U.S., notably hiring nearly 50,000 full- and part-time employees in a single day last August. A recently hired employee at one company's Baltimore-area fulfillment center told HR Dive at the time that the company offered better benefits and pay than his previous employer, Walmart.
Underscoring all of the above developments is the issue of largely stagnant wage growth among low-wage workers in the U.S. The "Fight for $15" movement remains politically active but, as workers in low-paying industries advocate for higher pay, employers have been slow to respond.