Amazon leak claims workers offered higher pay as grocery demand grows

Amazon is offering its own warehouse workers a pay increase to $19 an hour as an incentive to get them to work with its Whole Foods grocery business, a new leak claims. The move is said to be the result of a big increase in online grocery orders, something that has become very popular amid the ongoing quarantine. The leaked Amazon message reportedly states there has been 'a mass increase' in Prime Now grocery orders.READ: Amazon goes on hiring spree to keep up with quarantine shopping

Prime Now is an Amazon business that enables customers to place online grocery orders; the goods come from their local Whole Foods store or, in some cases, select other local stores like Fresh Thyme and Westside Market NYC. The service is available in a large number of major cities, including ones currently experiencing coronavirus outbreaks and strict stay-home orders.

Online grocery orders have the very obvious benefit of reducing exposure to the public. Rather than making a trip to the store, customers place an order online, which is then gathered and packaged by a worker at the grocery store. The groceries and other select items like household goods are then delivered to the customer's home, reducing contact.

On Saturday, Reuters claimed that it had viewed a message sent by Amazon to a number of its warehouse workers in multiple states. In it, the company allegedly offers the workers an additional $2 per hour to pack groceries in Whole Foods stores and to work on Amazon Fresh orders. In light of the recent temporary pay increase to $17/hour, that brings the new wage rate to $19/hour.

A spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters that it is offering 'temporary opportunities' to its workers as a way to deal with the 'significant increase' in online grocery orders. The company recently went on a hiring spree to bring in new warehouse workers as online orders spiked and Prime shipping times were stretched from two days to a week or longer in many cases.