Bezos: Amazon will take risks, learn from failures

Amazon's Jeff Bezos throws down the gauntlet to rival retailers to boost wages

Shares of eBay fall 5% on Thursday, after Jeff Bezos snubs the rival e-commerce giant in his annual letter to shareholders. "Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us", he said.

The company set the wage floor previous year amid criticism of working conditions in its sprawling warehouses and said it would lobby U.S. Congress for a higher federal minimum wage.

Amazon's wage hike came as USA unemployment was at a near two-decade low, with retailers and shippers competing for hundreds of thousands of workers for the all-important holiday shopping season.

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The challenge comes after Amazon disclosed Bezos's total 2018 compenstation was $1,681,840, 58 times the median compensation of employees other than himself of $28,836. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication. As for Amazon's competitors, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has a minimum wage of $11 per hour and Target Stores Inc. pays $12, soon to be increased to $13. "Third-party sellers are kicking our first-party butt", Bezos wrote, attributing their success to tools built by Amazon, including the Prime subscription program and Fulfillment by Amazon distribution service. "This wage hike benefitted more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees who worked at Amazon sites across the country last holiday", he wrote.

Amazon, for its part, has said it pays all required taxes. The pilots staging protests are from Atlas Air, Southern Air and ABX Air.

In his letter Thursday, Bezos said Amazon's Fire phone was a failure, but that its Echo and Alexa smart speakers have been tremendously successful. Last year, Bezos said the wage hike came after he "listened to our critics". He mentioned educational programs available to workers and paid for by Amazon as well as the Amazon Future Engineer program with which the company hopes to get more people working in STEM fields.

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