Amazon is hiring an additional 75,000 temporary employees on top of the 100,000 full- and part-time workers it has added at its fulfillment centers and delivery network in the past month.
The ecommerce giant announced the new hires in its daily COVID-19 blog. The first 100,000 hires are already “working at sites across the U.S. helping to serve customers,” but the company continues to see “increased demand as our teams support their communities,” which is why it is (temporarily) bulking up even more.
In an earlier interview, Zach Weinberg, director of Gartner’s Amazon Advisory group, said these new hires—particularly drivers who move products from manufacturers to warehouses and from fulfillment centers to customers—will be key to clearing the logistics logjam, which has seen delivery times balloon beyond the one-day promise that Prime members have come to expect. But Amazon is in a “fortuitous position with significant cash on its balance sheet,” which allows it to make these hires.
The addition of temporary workers from industries like hospitality and travel who have lost work or been furloughed during the coronavirus pandemic follows a precedent established by Chinese ecommerce platforms JD.com and Alibaba, which started seeing the impact of coronavirus months before the U.S.
“We 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, and we welcome anyone out of work to join us at Amazon until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back,” the blog post said.
These hires come as reports of worker unrest, including strikes, continue. The employees who work inside Amazon’s warehouses previously told Adweek that the ecommerce company is not doing enough to protect them.
Meanwhile, Amazon has repeatedly pointed to the “over 150 process updates” it has implemented to deal with new health and safety concerns raised by the coronavirus.
In its original announcement about new hires, Amazon said it will pay existing hourly workers in the U.S. an extra $2 per hour through April. Employees in the U.K. will receive an additional 2 pounds per hour, and employees in “many EU countries” will receive a bonus of “approximately 2 euros per hour.”
At the time, the ecommerce giant estimated the additional pay would cost the company roughly $350 million. It is now updating that estimate to “over $500 million.”
The blog post added: “We’ll continue to invest in safety, pay and benefits for our teams who are playing an invaluable role in getting items to communities around the world.”