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Exclusive: Amazon entices warehouse employees to grocery unit with higher pay

Exclusive: Amazon entices warehouse employees to grocery unit with higher pay

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc is providing higher pay to recruit its personal warehouse employees to choose and pack Whole Foods groceries amid rising demand and a employee scarcity, in accordance to an inside doc reviewed by Reuters.

An indication encouraging hand sanitizer use is pictured within the Amazon Obidos foyer within the South Lake Union neighborhood, usually a busy space for Amazon and the biotech trade, as corporations have instructed employees to do business from home if they will throughout the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) outbreak, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Redmond

This transfer, generally known as labor sharing, highlights how the ecommerce big is reallocating a few of its huge workforce to deal with a spike in on-line gross sales of groceries, as tens of millions of American are caught at dwelling amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Amazon presents on-line grocery providers by Amazon Fresh from its personal grocery warehouses, and Amazon Prime Now, which delivers from its Whole Foods shops.

“The Prime Now business has seen a mass increase in volume and is now offering labor share opportunities,” Amazon mentioned in a message despatched to warehouse employees in Maryland, which was reviewed by Reuters. Workers in different states the place Amazon operates grocery providers have obtained comparable communications, together with California, Nevada, and Tennessee.

Employees who’re chosen to make the swap could make $19 per hour, a $2 increase on prime of the pay hike Amazon introduced earlier this month. Amazon Fresh positions require working in a freezer surroundings, whereas a Prime Now shopper position entails choosing and packing merchandise for on-line orders in a Whole Foods retailer beneath tight deadlines.

“As we continue to see a significant increase in demand for grocery orders, we are offering temporary opportunities for associates across our fulfillment network to provide additional support,” an Amazon spokesperson mentioned on late Friday, confirming the motion.

Amazon has been doubling down on the grocery trade since its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017. It has expanded grocery supply service to over 2,000 cities. Free for Prime subscribers, AmazonFresh and Amazon Prime Now tout fast supply inside hours.

Since the outbreak, grocery supply has turn into a lifeline for folks to get family staples whereas attempting to keep away from stepping exterior. Grocery consumers on Amazon have regularly seen gadgets out of inventory and supply home windows unavailable as the corporate struggles to meet the rising demand. It has introduced the hiring of 100,000 full and part-time positions throughout the U.S. in achievement and supply networks, together with in AmazonFresh and Whole Foods supply.

So far, coronavirus has unfold to not less than 17 Amazon warehouses within the U.S., prompting employees and lawmakers to query if sufficient security measures have been taken to shield employees on the frontlines.

Grocery shops are competing for employees to fulfill on-line orders. Walmart, with a quick rising on-line grocery enterprise, plans to rent 150,000 employees at shops, distribution and achievement facilities by May.

“We’re seeing a dramatic increase in the use of online grocery shopping,” mentioned Bill Bishop, co-founder of Brick Meets Click. “Amazon eventually wants to be one of the very dominant distributors of grocery in the United States, and I think they’re looking at this as a period when they’ve got a chance to ramp that up by actions like this.”

Reporting by Krystal Hu; modifying by Vanessa O’Connell, Steve Orlofsky and Diane Craft

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