As the nation struggles to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Amazon is stepping up in a big way. The company announced it will hire 100,000 new full- and part-time workers across the United States. These employees are desperately needed to fill the surge of orders Amazon is getting for supplies. The new hires will work in Amazon’s fulfillment centers filling orders and serving as part of the company’s delivery network to get supplies to customers.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Amazon and our network of partners are helping communities around the world in a way that very few can—delivering critical supplies directly to the doorsteps of people who need them. Getting a priority item to your doorstep is vital as communities practice social-distancing, particularly for the elderly and others with underlying health issues. We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year,” said Dave Clark on Amazon’s blog.
“We are opening 100,000 new full and part-time positions across the U.S. in our fulfillment centers and delivery network to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service during this stressful time, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public,” Clark added.
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Hiring more employees in a time of economic fragility and uncertainty is welcome, especially for those who have lost jobs or been laid off as a result of the pandemic.
“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 Clark.
Amazon is also investing $350 million to temporarily increase wages for hourly employees in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Through the end of April, Amazon will raise U.S. wages by $2 per hour, Canadian wages by $2 (Canadian) per hour, UK wages by £2 per hour, and €2 per hour in countries in the European Union.
Amazon needs shoppers, warehouse specialists, cargo loaders and delivery drivers. The company says people do not need to provide a resume, and no previous work experience is required. They can start as soon as seven days. Prospective employees can learn more online at Amazon.com/jobsnow. They can also sign up for job alerts, and learn more about what it is like to work at Amazon.
In his blog post, Clark explained that health and safety are a top priority for the company, and they are taking all of the necessary precautions at their sites to keep employees safe. They practice social distancing and are doing frequent cleaning. In a separate post on March 13, Amazon outlined how it is helping support its employees, customers and communities. For example, at this time, Amazon is prioritizing the fulfillment of orders based on need. Orders for household staples, medical supplies and high-demand products will be filled first.
Price gouging has gotten a lot of media attention in recent weeks, with Amazon third-party sellers as key culprits. Amazon said it has removed tens of thousands of items. They are actively monitoring their online marketplace to be sure prices are not artificially inflated to take advantage of the need for critical supplies.
For those shopping in Amazon stores, the company has implemented enhanced daily cleaning procedures, followed by additional cleaning at night. They are educating employees based on CDC guidelines, and they are being flexible with employees who need to stay home. In addition, Amazon is providing up to two weeks paid time off for those diagnosed with the virus or who are put into quarantine. Through the end of March, all hourly employees can take unlimited unpaid time off.
Prime Now, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods delivery customers can select “unattended delivery” when they check out to avoid contact with delivery drivers. This does not apply to orders with alcohol, however. Customers should be aware that not all items will be available in all areas, and standard turnaround times do not apply. In the Seattle area, for example, Amazon Fresh delivery windows are 48 hours out.
Amazon and its founder Jeff Bezos have their detractors, but this is an incredible response and a great example of serving the global community when it needs it the most. Amazon is serving its customers – whether they are Prime members or not – by prioritizing orders, providing jobs, raising wages and taking care of their employees. As large as they are, they are perhaps the only company in a position to support the global community this way. They are setting a great example for others to follow as we work through this crisis together.