With a massive portion of the world’s population quarantined to fight the spread of COVID-19, online retailers are struggling to keep up. Amazon reported Monday that it’s looking to hire 100,000 people in the United States to meet increased demands head-on. That’s an estimated 12 percent increase in Amazon’s total workforce.
The company will also increase hourly wages by approximately $2 per hour to compensate for the “essential role” its workers are playing during this time of crisis.
“We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations.
Amazon is known as an often ruthless employer, treating its employees as overworked, expendable labor in pursuit of profits. But with COVID-19 creating more online sales than ever, Amazon is being forced to recognize its workers for what they are: pivotal pieces in the company’s operations.
Can’t handle the pressure — Even with its nearly 800,000 workers, Amazon is struggling to keep up with the demands being placed on it. Besides shipping packages, the company is also dealing with an influx of fake coronavirus cures and price-gouging on household sanitation products.
Until it manages to hire thousands of new workers, Amazon will continue to flail. The company says customers can expect shipping delays for the foreseeable future.
Amazon has long undervalued its workers — Amazon’s history is one built on the back of its underpaid and overworked staff of hundreds of thousands. The company finds itself under intense scrutiny at least a few times a year for its unfair working conditions, especially in its warehouses.
Just last year Amazon workers held a strike against Amazon’s annual Prime Day sale, citing the company’s persistently upsetting attitude toward its workers — everything from being fired for taking an extra bathroom break to sweltering warehouse climates. Amazon brushed the protests off as fake news.
Amazon might be able to solve its understaffing issues with thousands of rush hires. But will the company be able to keep those employees if they’re not treated well?