Amazon is hiring 250,000 U.S. workers, including 16,000 in Southern California, to fill full-time, seasonal, and part-time roles across its operations network. A worker is seen here processing a package at an Amazon fulfillment center in Eastvale. (File photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
Amazon is looking to add 16,000 workers to its warehouse network in Southern California, part of a seasonal push to fill 250,000 jobs nationwide ahead of the holiday shopping season.
The company, which is seeking 100,000 more workers than it did in the past two holiday seasons, said it’s also boosting its average starting pay for new employees to $20.50 hourly. In some areas, base wages will be as high as $28 per hour.
A subdued forecast for holiday shopping put Amazon’s hiring announcement at odds with a cooling economy, according to a report by Challenger Gray & Christmas.
“With inflation slowing, companies, particularly retailers, won’t be able to pass increased labor costs to the consumer as easily. This could lead to more cuts, rather than more added positions, as evidenced by the increase in job cuts in this sector,” said Andrew Challenger, a labor expert at the firm.
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Challenger predicted seasonal hiring would be the slowest since 2008.
Amazon’s announcement comes a day after Macy’s said it will add more than 38,000 full- and part-time seasonal employees at its Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury stores nationwide. That’s a dip from the 41,000 the company looked to hire a year ago.
The e-commerce titan noted it has more jobs are available because the company has opened over 50 new fulfillment centers, delivery stations and same-day delivery sites in the U.S. this year.
A big Inland Empire presence
Amazon, which plans to hire 30,000 employees in California this holiday season, has a heavy presence in the Inland Empire with more than 40 robotic fulfillment centers, sortation facilities and delivery stations in addition to the company’s KSBD air hub at San Bernardino International Airport.
John Felton, the company’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said a fulfillment or transportation employee who starts immediately will see a pay increase of 13% or more over the next three years when the company’s annual raises are factored in.
In a blog post, the e-commerce giant wrote it will invest $1.3 billion this year toward pay hikes for warehouse and transportation employees.
Amazon said 54% of Inland Empire employees hired by the company over the past decade were previously not working. And for 14%, it was their first job.
Employee walkout, Senate investigation
Amazon, like many other companies, is facing headwinds in hiring as union activity and disgruntled workers demand better pay and working conditions.
Delivery drivers and dispatchers held a one-day walkout at the company’s Palmdale warehouse and delivery center in mid-June, claiming they’re underpaid and left to work in blistering heat during summer months.
The 84 workers involved in the action are employed by logistics partner Battle-Tested Strategies and subcontracted by Amazon. They voted in April to join Teamsters Local 396 in hopes of boosting their wages to $30 an hour and securing immediate safety protections.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders announced in June that he would launch a Senate investigation into labor conditions at Amazon warehouses and the company’s treatment of workers who suffer injuries on the job.
“The company’s quest for profits at all costs has led to unsafe physical environments, intense pressure to work at unsustainable rates and inadequate medical attention for tens of thousands of Amazon workers every year,” Sanders said in a letter to Amazon executives.
Amazon said its full-time, seasonal and part-time jobs range from picking and packing to sorting and shipping and come with flexible schedules. Those interested in applying can go to amazon.com/apply.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.