Health

Amazon to Hire 100K Workers As Demand Rises & Prioritize Shipping “Essentials”

The e-commerce giant also told third-party sellers that it will prioritize receiving, restocking and shipping “high-demand products” in grocery, health and household, baby food, and other categories.

Billie Her, a warehouse associate, wraps plastic around a pallet load of boxes at Amazon's Fulfillment Center on March 19, 2019 in Thornton, Colorado. | Getty Images
Billie Her, a warehouse associate, wraps plastic around a pallet load of boxes at Amazon's Fulfillment Center on March 19, 2019 in Thornton, Colorado. | Getty Images

Amazon is hiring 100,000 workers across the U.S. to meet intense online shopping demand during the coronavirus pandemic, the company said Monday.

Demand for items sold by the multibillion-dollar company has inevitably increased at an overwhelming scale given the global urges for people to stay home. On Tuesday, the company also told 3rd-party sellers that it will prioritize receiving, restocking and shipping “high-demand products” in grocery, health and household, baby food, and other categories through April 5. (The company is reportedly suspending shipments of nonessential products.) A quick search on Tuesday showed several brands of toilet paper and disinfectant wipes are out of stock.

Amazon’s mass hiring comes as “social distancing” measures and mass closures and bans are ramping up in the U.S, and the number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 5,000. Amazon executive Dave Clark wrote in a blog post that this new crop of part- and full-time jobs will help serve “those most vulnerable to being out in public.”

The jobs will be based at the company’s fulfillment centers and delivery networks across the U.S. Along with the thousands of jobs, Amazon said it will increase pay by $2/hour for all hourly workers in the U.S. and Canada through April. Amazon currently pays at least $15/hour across the U.S. for delivery and warehouse jobs.

“Amazon is big enough and powerful enough and decisive enough to take up a significant amount of the slack being caused by all of the shutdowns,” Mark Cohen, a former Sears Canada executive and director of retail studies at Columbia University’s business school, told the Wall Street Journal. “This is an enormous engine of distribution that has been growing for many years and investing ahead of its own needs.”

The company said it will follow health and medical guidelines in its buildings and stores, “promote social distancing in the workplace,” and enhance cleaning procedures.

As the outbreak has continued to spread across the nation, Amazon earlier this month also announced that it is offering at least two weeks’ paid leave for any employees diagnosed with COVID-19, in addition to the unlimited paid leave available throughout March. 

The retail giant also set up a $25 million relief fund to support “employees and contractors around the world who face financial hardships from other qualifying events.” Those employees would be eligible for grants from $400 to $5,000.

As of Tuesday morning, 189,160 coronavirus cases have been confirmed globally, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. More than 5,000 cases have been confirmed in the U.S., including at least 85 deaths.