Amazon CEO uses Web front page to recruit workers
By Alistair Barr
(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc Chief Executive Jeff Bezos launched a recruiting drive on the front page of the company's website on Monday as the largest Internet retailer seeks staff for its vast and expanding network of warehouses.
Bezos unveiled the Amazon Career Choice Program, which will pay up to $8,000 over four years for employees to take technical and vocational courses in high-demand areas including engineering, information technology, transportation and accounting. Amazon said full-time hourly employees in the United States who have worked at the company for at least three years qualify for the program.
Bezos, in a letter to customers posted on Amazon.com, said the company pays employees at its storage and distribution warehouses 30 percent more than retail store staff. He also highlighted productivity and safety improvements.
The company is expanding its network of storage and distribution warehouses, which it calls fulfillment centers, across the United States as it tries to cut shipping times to compete more with traditional retailers.
The drive has increased Amazon's demand for employees, something that is especially true during the holiday season.
"For most of the year, our full-time fulfillment center employees can keep up with customer demand," Bezos wrote in his letter. "But during the holiday gift-giving season, our peak needs temporarily double."
Last year, Amazon said it spent $2.4 million installing air conditioning in some of its warehouses after a report about worker complaints at a facility in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania. Some employees there described long hours in hot conditions and some sought medical attention, according to the report by The Morning Call of Allentown.
In a statement at the time, Amazon highlighted a "focus on employee safety." Continued...