After receiving a $4 million "performance-based grant" from the Michigan Strategic Fund to build distribution warehouses and create jobs in the state, Amazon announced on Tuesday that it is opening its fourth Michigan warehouse in Gaines Township, a town in Western Michigan. The site will create more than 1,000 full-time jobs "with benefits and opportunities," the company said. The company advertised the jobs, which appear to be standard fulfillment-center warehouse work, as working with "robotics" in a "highly technological" workplace.
Of course, these are the same - or at least similar - jobs that had some employees peeing in bottles during their shifts because they were afraid to ask for bathroom breaks, according to the Sun, which published an expose about working conditions at Amazon's UK fulfillment centers (others have written about similar conditions at its "fulfillment centers" in the US).
"Michigan has been a great place to do business for Amazon and we look forward to adding a new fulfillment center to better serve our customers in the region," said Mark Stewart, Amazon’s Vice President of North American operations. "Because of our ability to have more inventory on-hand and increased speed of fulfillment, we are able to better meet customer demand and create more than 1,000 new jobs with competitive pay and great benefits starting on day one of employment. We are proud of our ability to create jobs, spur innovation and provide excellent Prime service to members."
Amazon famously purchased what was then known as Kiva Systems in 2012 for nearly $800 million, then refused to renew the company's contracts with all of the company's clients. The company's robots now work exclusively in Amazon's fulfillment centers. The Gaines Township warehouse is the fourth project that Amazon has planned in Michigan during the last two years. Clearly conscious of its reputation for harsh treatment of its fulfillment center workers, Amazon's press release advertised "competitive hourly wages and a comprehensive benefits package, including health insurance, disability insurance, 401(k) and company stock awards starting on day one."
Read the full press release below:
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced plans to open its fourth Michigan fulfillment center in Gaines Township, creating more than 1,000 full-time jobs with compelling benefits and opportunities to engage with Amazon Robotics in a highly technological workplace.
“Michigan has been a great place to do business for Amazon and we look forward to adding a new fulfillment center to better serve our customers in the region,” said Mark Stewart, Amazon’s Vice President of North American operations. “Because of our ability to have more inventory on-hand and increased speed of fulfillment, we are able to better meet customer demand and create more than 1,000 new jobs with competitive pay and great benefits starting on day one of employment. We are proud of our ability to create jobs, spur innovation and provide excellent Prime service to members.”
Amazon employees will work alongside innovative technologies at the more than 850,000 square foot fulfillment center to pick, pack and ship small items to customers such as books, electronics and toys. The facility will feature innovative technology such as Amazon Robotics that will assist employees in fulfilling customer orders.
“Amazon’s continuing investment in our state and our people is exciting news,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “We are thrilled Amazon has discovered our talented workforce, creating additional opportunities to provide more Michiganders with good jobs, and look forward to our ongoing partnership.”
“Today’s announcement marks the fourth project Amazon has invested in Michigan in just under two years. Their ongoing recognition of the state for fulfillment center locations underscores a major endorsement of the state’s logistics, distribution assets and strategic location in proximity to the Midwest region,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “We appreciate Amazon’s continued commitment to growing their footprint and creating jobs here in Michigan and look forward to working with them on future investments in the state.”
Full-time employees at Amazon receive competitive hourly wages and a comprehensive benefits package including health insurance, disability insurance, 401(k) and company stock awards starting on day one. The company also offers up to 20 weeks of maternal and parental paid leave and innovative benefits such as Leave Share and Ramp Back, which give new parents flexibility with their growing families.
“We are very pleased to welcome Amazon to Gaines Township with this new type of Amazon Robotics fulfillment center,” said Gaines Township Supervisor Robert DeWard. “This is a huge win for Western Michigan and a wonderful opportunity for our entire region, providing jobs for subcontractors, suppliers, and the 1,000 employees who will join the Amazon team.”
Amazon also offers full-time employees innovative programs like Career Choice, where the company will pre-pay up to 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon. Since the program’s launch, over 16,000 employees have pursued degrees in game design and visual communications, nursing, IT programming and radiology, to name a few.
“This announcement is a big win for West Michigan, and is a result of collaborative teamwork between The Right Place, Gaines Charter Township, and the MEDC,” said Birgit Klohs, President and CEO, The Right Place, Inc. “We look forward to continuing our work together bringing over 1,000 new job opportunities to the West Michigan community.”