Less than a week after Amazon warehouse workers in New York voted to create the company’s first-ever union in the U.S., the e-commerce giant is planning to target soon-to-be high school graduates in upcoming recruiting drives.
Faced with high turnover and increased scrutiny from lawmakers over working conditions, Amazon is set to kick off recruiting drives next month to staff company warehouses, The Information reported.
Scouts from the company are set to go into high schools to speak at career days, using a pitch that highlights Amazon’s college tuition benefits and healthcare, among other perks.
“We’re always looking for great employees and [we] are proud to be an employer of choice for graduating high school students,” Amazon spokesperson Lisa Campos said, describing education, training and what she called “industry-leading benefits and opportunities for growth and promotion.”
On the “Opportunities for Students” section of its hiring website, Amazon has a pitch front and center about it’s college tuition benefits.
“Thinking about going to school? Amazon can help get you there. Wanting to work while you go to school? We can help you,” the webpage states. “Looking for an apprenticeship? We’ve got connections. Amazon supports students no matter where you are in your educational journey — from obtaining your GED to earning your Master’s degree — and everything in between.”
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Though the company said it has scouted high schoolers before, the increased attention on the high school population comes after an investigation by the New York Times. The investigation revealed that Amazon failed to effectively manage its workforce by being too reliant on technology systems, leading to high turnover.
“Amid the pandemic, Amazon’s system burned through workers, resulted in inadvertent firings and stalled benefits, and impeded communication, casting a shadow over a business success story for the ages,” the New York Times reported.
Despite hiring a reported 350,000 new workers in just three months in 2020 during the covid pandemic lockdowns, the NYT reported that many of the new hires only “lasted just days or weeks.”
“Even before the pandemic, previously unreported data shows, Amazon lost about 3 percent of its hourly associates each week, meaning the turnover among its work force was roughly 150 percent a year,” the Times reported. “That rate, almost double that of the retail and logistics industries, has made some executives worry about running out of workers across America.”
The turnover has allegedly cost Amazon $4 billion in revenue on its bottom line.
Now each of the company’s recruitment centers is supposed to visit at least one high school in the U.S. and Canada before the school year ends for summer break to staff up to 50 local warehouses.
Twitter users weighed in. “Ummm, why not just pay warehouse workers more? I mean isn’t Bezos the richest man in the world?” tweeted Vernacular still Spectacular @SuburbanPimp.
“High School students will generally work part-time and for less money. This means almost no chance they can/would join a union. They’ll also dilute FT votes in favor of future unionization. This is a 10,000 I.Q. union-busting strategy without ever directly combating unions,” tweeted Peña is better than Correa.
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PHOTO: A worker collects goods for purchase orders at the giant storehouse of the Amazon Logistic Center in Rheinberg, Germany, Nov. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)