CLEVELAND — While Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted are celebrating the arrival of another Amazon fulfillment center to Northeast Ohio, studies have shown that these warehouses don’t always have a positive impact on the communities they are built in, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
A 2018 report by the institute found opening an Amazon Fulfillment Center does lead to an increase in warehousing employment with those jobs jumping 30% in the two years after Amazon comes to town, but there's no net gain to overall employment across the county.
Two years after Amazon, the overall private-sector employment remains stagnant. The report suggests this could be because the warehousing jobs are offset by job losses in other industries.
But one expert we spoke with said that's because amazon is so competitive in attracting workers.
“There are folks and i think you're seeing it with some of our friends that are that are employing folks at the bottom of the pyramid and whether it's restaurants or retail, these fulfillment center jobs tend to be better paying than than some of the lowest wage retail jobs, so that is good for our community,” said Michael Goldberg, associate professor of design and innovation, Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management.
So just what are these amazon warehouse jobs anyway?
We looked into the different roles you might fill.
According to a report in the Atlantic, the process starts with “stowers.” They take bins of items that have been shipped to an amazon warehouse and store them on shelves in the enormous aisles.
Next up is the “picker,” they're the ones who walk the aisles of the warehouse reading information with a handheld scanner and putting the items you ordered into a yellow bin.
Then there are “packers.” They take items from those yellow totes, scan them, grab a box and some packing tape and wrap it all up, leaving the packed shipment on a fast-moving conveyor belt.
Despite reports of Amazon warehouse work being grueling, with some even claiming they were denied bathroom breaks, there's good incentive for Amazon to improve conditions
Perhaps because they're in a fight for for labor talent, you know, that also puts pressure on making sure that they're providing, you know, a livable wage. I mean, it's a tough job. I mean, it's been sort of widely reported, you know, what it takes to working with the centers, even with all the automation that Amazon has," Goldberg said.
We reached out to Amazon for comment about some of these concerns.
Amazon said it is extremely excited to be offering more than 1,000 great jobs in Canton, with benefits starting day one.
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