Amazon Giving $500 Million in One-Time 'Thank You Bonus' to Front-line Workers

Amazon is giving out a massive "Thank You bonus" to front-line workers amid the coronavirus pandemic, the company announced on Tuesday. According to a report by CNN, the bonuses will total over $500 million and will go to "front-line workers" who were with the company throughout June. The bonus comes after Amazon eliminated the $2 per hour raise that workers got early in the pandemic.

"Our front-line operations teams have been on an incredible journey over the last few months, and we want to show our appreciation with a special one-time Thank You bonus totaling over $500 million," said Amazon's senior vice president of worldwide operations, Dave Clark in a public statement about the bonuses. The company has worked out a tier system for determining how much a bonus different types of employees will get and how they will be dolled out. They will go to delivery drivers, warehouse laborers, and Whole Foods employees, among others.

Full-time employees of Amazon, full-time drivers for its delivery service partners and full-time employees of Whole Foods will all get a one-time bonus of $500. Part-time employees at any of these three companies will get a $250 bonus, while "front-line leaders" at Amazon and Whole Foods will get a $1,000 bonus.

Meanwhile, the owners at Amazon's delivery service partner companies will get a $3,000 bonus. Delivery drivers for Amazon Flex will get a bonus of $150 — provided they worked over 10 hours for the company in June.

These bonuses follow a huge surge in sales and earnings for Amazon over the last few months. According to a report by The Guardian, Amazon reported $75.4 billion in revenue for the first quarter — a 26-percent increase over the same time last year. Critics condemned the company for cutting employees' $2 per hour pay raise at the same time that this revenue was reported, especially amid concerns about employees' safety while working for Amazon.

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At least 10 Amazon employees have reportedly died after testing positive for coronavirus, and some have tried with varying levels of success to blow the whistle on how things look inside the warehouses. Amazon has denounced whistleblowers, labor strikes and attempts to unionize throughout this pandemic.

The critical rhetoric flared up again when Amazon announced these new "Thank You bonuses" on Tuesday. Sen. Bernie Sanders' Staff Director, Warren Gunnels pointed out on Twitter that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' personal wealth has grown by $56 billion during this pandemic. He and other critics accused Bezos of "greed" throughout this crisis.