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Amazon Gives $500 Million in Bonuses After 'Voucher Incident'

Amazon Gives $500 Million in Bonuses After 'Voucher Incident'

The e-commerce giant handed out $500 million in bonuses to employees after “turkey vouchers” were given, sometimes worth as little as $10.

The e-commerce giant handed out $500 million in bonuses to employees after “turkey vouchers” were given, sometimes worth as little as $10.

Credit | Amazon Warehouse

Amazon is handing out holiday bonuses to its workers globally, only a few days after employees were upset over “turkey vouchers,” just ahead of Thanksgiving, which were worth as little as $10 in some cases.

The e-retail giant will give $300 to all full-time employees working on the front lines, while $150 in bonuses will be given to part-time workers.

Amazon’s senior VP of retail, Dave Clark, said “as we head into the peak of the holiday season, we want to share our appreciation,” while also noting that total bonuses would likely total $500 million.

While that number is definitely a sizeable amount, compared to the roughly 1.6 trillion dollar market cap of the company, that’s not an outrageous number.

These bonuses are sent out after Amazon was reported to have given long-term members of the company vouchers to buy Thanksgiving turkey, compared to the upwards of $3,000 signup bonuses for new recruits. These vouchers, lovingly referred to as ‘Amazon’s turkey vouchers,’ were worth as little at $10, even given out as thank-you gifts.

The vouchers, branded Butterball turkey, were perceived as an offense to the workers that have been working for months in trying times, in at risk scenarios.

In contrast to the $10 vouchers received by its employees, Amazon’s reaped an incredible financial gain during the pandemic, after estimating that the company could account for more than 40% of online holiday sales this year.

This second round of bonuses for employees is Amazon’s second time this year, following another 500 million dollars in bonuses. This past bonus came in June, at the height of the pandemic, as a thank-you for those workers that put their lives at risks in order to provide for the customers that the company serves.

VP Clark furthered, saying “I’ve been at Amazon for 22 holiday seasons and this one is definitely unique, to say the least; I’m grateful to our teams who continue to play a vital role serving their communities.”

Amazon’s employees as a whole, have criticized the company in the past couple of months for its failure to protect the hundreds of thousands of employees that work for the company. Thousands have been infected from COVID-19, with at least eight workers having unfortunately died of the virus.

VP Dave Clark

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According to an October report, over 19 thousand Amazon employees had caught the virus, with a total of 19,816 employees from Amazon and Whole Foods having been infected.

That total comes out to around 1.44 percent of Amazon’s workforce of 1.3 million people. According to the company, 34 thousand people would have been infected, taking into account the general population infection rate.

This surprisingly large number brought some focus onto Amazon’s protections for its workers, as well as increasing some criticisms against the company due to their failure to keep employees safe.

The e-commerce giant said it hopes to conduct over 50,000 coronavirus tests daily, at over 650 sites across the country. This follows its hopes to distribute more than 100 million face masks, and enforce social-distancing across its global company reaches.

Even with these improvements, the United Food and Commercial Workers International labor union hopes that federal regulators and congressional committees will investigate the company, and enact some force to persuade the company to use higher quality protection.

The union president, Marc Perrone said

“Amazon’s confession that nearly 20,000 of its workers have been infected by COVID-19 is the most damning evidence we have seen that corporate America has completely failed to protect our country’s frontline workers in this pandemic.”