The $15 an hour minimum wage could have killed 20,000 temporary jobs at Amazon.
To clarify, Quartz estimates Amazon will hire 100,000 temps for holiday season 2018. In contrast Amazon hired 120,000 temporary workers for holiday seasons in 2016 and 2018.
Amazon no longer needs the 20,000 temps because of its deployment of Kiva robots in fulfillment centers, Citi analyst Mark May theorizes. In particular, Kiva robots eliminate workers who pull merchandise from the shelves.
Instead, the robots literally bring the shelves to the workers who pull and pack and the goods for shipment. Quartz claims, Amazon cut the time needed to pull and pack an order from an hour to 15 minutes with robots.
To be fair to Bernie, Amazon would have deployed the robots with or without the $15 wage. In fact, the robots could have made the $15 wage possible by reducing the size of the labor force. Amazon is paying workers more because it has fewer of them thanks to robots.