Amazon hires 100,000 workers to manage surge

Amazon hires 100,000 workers to manage surge

20 March 2020

Amazon says the coronavirus outbreak has caused a surge in online shopping, and now the online giant is adding 100,000 new full-time and part-time positions across the United States to keep up with the demand.

The jobs will be Amazon’s fulfillment centres and its delivery network.

“We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year,” Amazon said in a blog post.

“We also know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis. We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back,” said Amazon in a statement.

In the U.S., Amazon will also be adding an additional $2 USD per hour worked through April from its current rate of $15/hour or more, depending on the region, C$2 in Canada, £2 per hour in the UK, and approximately €2 per hour in many EU countries.

Amazon is caught in an uncomfortable position. On the one hand, the company is providing a lifeline – some would even say an essential service – to shoppers who would rather not brave their local supermarket or big-box store. On the other hand, keeping operations going risks the health and lives of the lowest-paid members of Amazon’s workforce, the warehouse workers and drivers who are unable to work from home like their corporate colleagues.

At least five workers at warehouses in Europe have contracted the coronavirus, a sobering development for a company already struggling to deal with a spike in orders for food and household essentials from customers hunkering down at home.

Cases of COVID-19, have appeared at Amazon warehouses in Spain and Italy, two countries hard hit by the spreading disease. In both nations, the company has opted to keep the three facilities open, prompting criticism from unions that Amazon is putting sales ahead of worker safety; on Monday workers at Amazon’s main Italian logistics hub in Castel San Giovanni called for a strike.

Last week, the retail giant said it would provide up to two weeks of paid leave to hourly workers who get diagnosed with COVID-19 or get placed into quarantine. Amazon also allowed unlimited unpaid time off through March. In an online petition, some workers said the measures fell short, demanding paid sick leave for people without access to testing and diagnosis — as well as longer paid sick leave for those who are older 0r immunodeficient.