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Thousands Show Up For Jobs at Amazon Warehouses in US Cities (apnews.com) 175

Thousands of people showed up Wednesday for a chance to pack and ship products to Amazon customers, as the e-commerce company held a giant job fair at nearly a dozen U.S. warehouses. From a report on Associated Press: Although the wages offered will make it hard for some to make ends meet, many of the candidates were excited by the prospect of health insurance and other benefits, as well as advancement opportunities. It's common for Amazon to ramp up its shipping center staff in August to prepare for holiday shopping. But the magnitude of its current hiring spree underscores Amazon's growth when traditional retailers are closing stores -- and blaming Amazon for a shift to buying goods online. Amazon said it received "a record-breaking 20,000 applications" and hired thousands of people on the spot, and will hire more in the coming days. That number represented fewer than half of the 50,000 people it had said it planned to hire.
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Thousands Show Up For Jobs at Amazon Warehouses in US Cities

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    • by Anonymous Coward

      Just don't bother to apply if you're white. Everyone I know who works at my local Amazon center is black and has a bunch of black friends working there too (who also only hire other blacks). So apparently, Amazon don't like hiring them crackers. Probably helps them pad out their numbers so they can clam "diversity" and hope everyone ignores their all-white management.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "Just don't bother to apply if you're white."

        Really? Both of my white neighbors work at Amazon.

      • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @11:23AM (#54933857)

        Seriously?

        If we are ever going to beat this racism thing, we've simply got to start ignoring people's race, both legally AND in practical day to day business matters. This applies to ALL sides of the question including discrimination AND affirmative action laws. Folks will have to drop their victimhood status along with those who think they are better by virtue of their race,

        MLK's dream was exactly this, judgment by the content of one's character, not the color of their skin.

        Of course, nobody cares what I (A middle age white dude) say on this subject because I'm not a member of a politically recognized group of victims...

        • It would be easy to make race irrelevant by simple stop asking for it and while your at it get rid of Affirmative Action and all of the other bennies that come along with being the "right" race like access to mortgages, promotions etc. etc. Until this is done there will always be a race issue in the US.

          MLK plagiarized both his speeches and his academic submissions but that does not invalidate the meaning of I have a dream.
          • not as long as lenders discrimnate against equally qualified minorities.

            https://www.usatoday.com/story... [usatoday.com]

            http://www.denverpost.com/2016... [denverpost.com]

            and refuse to even call back equally qualified minorities for rentals and leases.

            https://www.nytimes.com/2015/0... [nytimes.com]

            • Sure, this does still happen but when this happens, IT IS ALREADY ILLEGAL!

              We don't ne government to do anything about this except to ENFORCE the existing law that makes it illegal to discriminate based on race. If you have an example of people doing this, document the problem and call law enforcement and get it dealt with. IF law enforcement won't help you, call the state, call the feds, call your elected officials and tell them the law isn't being enforced. Tell your friends, call the news paper, TV an

            • The CDO crisis was in part due to a soft deal between regulating agencies and the banks. The Fed would look the other way and banks woudl give out mortgages to minorities they knew could not pay them back. A lot of the minority bias in loans is hogwash as the numbers were fudged as a number of studies show: https://www.utdallas.edu/~lieb... [utdallas.edu]

              However I do agree that decisions on loans should be financial and on history and be completely blind to race.
        • That's not how change works. The system, as it stands, discriminates at the very beginning. Black women have higher maternal mortality rates, schools in black neighbourhoods aren't as well funded, services are less available to black people, etc., etc.

          (Or from a Canadian perspective, First Nations people start incredibly disadvantaged; some reservations have been on boil water advisories for 20 years, and so on.)

          They're STARTING from a worse place. Affirmative action type programs are theoretically temporar

          • Oh, so you are for equal OUTCOME then? Look, I'm not discounting racism happens, I've seen it, it does. However, you simply cannot measure racism by outcome alone. What we want is equality in OPPERTUNITY, where all men (regardless of the circumstances of their birth) are equal in terms of law and thus opportunity. Not all are equal in ability or drive, which is why you cannot measure opportunity by outcome.

            MLK wasn't using the measuring stick of race, he was using the content of your character to measure

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @11:30AM (#54933921)

      Here is the thing about computers and automation. They do not make your lives easier, they make them more difficult. Computers and robots are taking away the easy jobs, leaving the hard jobs, that requires more complex thinking, creativity and problem solving skills, and a wider range of movement. Where every day your job will be different.

      We cannot try to slow this down (AKA America First), we cannot really ignore the problem (AKA basic income). However there needs to be an effort to get people onto the fact that they need to change, because people can change faster then a computer can. This includes Training the employees, and changing businesses to allow people who do not have the experience to get in and build the experience.
       

      • by SB5407 ( 4372273 )

        Serious question:

        You said that "computers and robots are taking away the easy jobs, leaving the hard [and complicated] jobs."

        And you went on to say: "We cannot try to slow this down (AKA America First), we cannot really ignore the problem (AKA basic income)."

        Then you talked about training.

        Are you therefore saying that instead of "America First", and instead of "basic income", we need to train people to be able to do the harder, more complicated jobs that are left as computers and robots take away the easy

        • The problem is a lot of people can do it. They were just told that going past the yellow line, is bad and you should get in trouble. I am sure much of your help desk users are not from pure stupidity but from people taking that one step beyond what they were told to do.

      • Here is the thing about computers and automation. They do not make your lives easier, they make them more difficult. Computers and robots are taking away the easy jobs, leaving the hard jobs, that requires more complex thinking, creativity and problem solving skills, and a wider range of movement. Where every day your job will be different.

        We cannot try to slow this down (AKA America First), we cannot really ignore the problem (AKA basic income). However there needs to be an effort to get people onto the fact that they need to change, because people can change faster then a computer can. This includes Training the employees, and changing businesses to allow people who do not have the experience to get in and build the experience.

        Here's the thing about computers and automation taking away the easy jobs, leaving only the complex jobs that require training and education. There's a damn good chance an easy job was your first job because it was the only kind of job you were qualified to do. There's a damn good chance an easy job was what helped pay for training and education to enable you to obtain a skilled job.

        Without easy jobs, there is no ladder of success to climb. There is no path to obtain the skills to qualify you for the onl

      • We cannot try to slow this down (AKA America First), we cannot really ignore the problem (AKA basic income). However there needs to be an effort to get people onto the fact that they need to change, because people can change faster then a computer can. This includes Training the employees, and changing businesses to allow people who do not have the experience to get in and build the experience.

        Actually you have a couple of the options mixed up. Basic income isn't ignoring the problem, it's setting the foundation for a long-term solution. Training and relocation is ignoring the problem. It's Wile E. Coyote running straight from the cannonball instead of stepping to the side. The cannonball represents artificial intelligence and the cartoon coyote represents an attempt to continually outsmart it, no matter how quickly it's advancing or how fast it will eventually become or how exhausting it is to k

    • Yup. Amazon is well into making picker robots that will pick items off the shelf and put them into the box. When they do, most of the warehouse jobs go away.

      • Yup. Amazon is well into making picker robots that will pick items off the shelf and put them into the box. When they do, most of the warehouse jobs go away.

        I find it rather strange that Greed cannot see the business impact that automation will ultimately create. Rather hard to maintain revenue streams when you've automated the masses out of employment, and no one can afford to buy your robot-delivered products.

        Of course, Greed is too fucking short-sighted to see this obvious problem...

        • I was just thinking today that the "thought processes" of the economy have very little perception of time. There is no past and very little future, just the present moment and short-term plans. I'm confident that if businesses could commit to a plan that would cause the earth to blow up in 5 years but would massively boost profits in the meantime, they would do it.

  • that's hiring with similar wage/benefits
    • Maybe not EVERYWHERE.... In some places, such wage levels are not going to buy you reliable labor. Heck, in SOME places $12/hour is illegal.

  • The flip side... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @10:33AM (#54933539)

    Although this is good news for people looking for work in the cities, Amazon is also closing warehouses in rural communities that are turning into the new inner cities that are lacking in jobs.

    Starting in the late 1990s, Amazon.com Inc. began opening fulfillment centers in sparsely populated states to help customers avoid sales taxes. One of those centers, established in 1999, brought hundreds of jobs to Coffeyville, Kan. -- population 9,500. Yet as two-day shipping became a priority, Amazon shifted its warehousing strategy to be closer to cities where its customers were concentrated, and shut the Coffeyville center in 2015.

    http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/05/26/rural-america-is-new-inner-city-2.html [foxbusiness.com]

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

      Well, there's always money in the meth stand.

    • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday August 03, 2017 @11:13AM (#54933803) Homepage

      I hate to bring this to a political place, but I feel like there's a bit of irony and double-think here. I've heard Republicans and "conservatives" saying that suburban and rural locations need help, while vilifying cities as playgrounds for detached elites. I've even heard this kind of statement that the rural areas are "the new inner cities".

      But meanwhile, they're also holding onto the idea that cities are decaying liberal wastelands, populated by lazy degenerate criminals and "welfare queens". They've spent decades complaining that the people in the inner city need to take responsibility for their own lives, and pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

      But now rural areas are the "new inner city", but it's not their fault. It's economic factors beyond their control. They're not responsible, and don't need to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Even when describing the problem in terms of the "inner city", they're often still failing to recognize the similarity between this "new inner city" and the old inner city that they continue to criticize.

      Maybe it's time we recognize that the government has a role to play in alleviating the burden of poverty, whether the poverty occurs in the inner city or in rural areas.

      • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @11:41AM (#54934017)

        I think in some ways it's all true at the same time.

        A lot of this is just vilifying your opponents supporters, both to discredit your opponent and to undermine their supporters' claim on resources.

        But it's not like the claims are wholly baseless. How many generations of inner city poor have come out of out-of-wedlock parenting? How much crime in the inner city is the byproduct of gang participation and toxic cultural values that their own community leaders refuse to acknowledge or repudiate?

        On the other hand, their defenders have points like generations of racial discrimination, unfair policing, inadequate schooling and lack of civic investment.

        In rural communities you also have a lot of investment in low-rent "traditional values" which wind up being things like science denial and religious hucksterism both in the community and being enforced as "educational" policy. Nor are they free of the self-inflicted problems of alcoholism or drug use, either.

        On the other hand, a lot of rural communities have seen their economic base go from thriving to crashing in time periods that really no one could have predicted or could have adapted to. If you suck some large plurality of the economic base out of a rural region, there often isn't a fix for it besides closing the towns and mass-relocating the population. If there's any "fault", its in the hands of local civic leaders for not purposefully diversifying the local economy, a difficult task when it needs to be done at the crest of economic prosperity (when the big plant was setting output records), when nobody understands it could all end and when diversification may have failed due to lack of labor or access to markets.

        And there are weird dichotomies in cities, too. Islands of prosperity occupied by elites in good housing and with good jobs but which are closed to outsiders. I can think of a couple of areas in my city with a couple of square miles of million dollar homes with impoverished areas within 3 miles in nearly every direction. It's worse in some suburban areas which start to resemble dynastic clans, generations of elites whose children get high quality educations and use their parents influence to get good jobs, a closed loop cycle.

        • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday August 03, 2017 @12:04PM (#54934197) Homepage

          I agree with some of your points, but do not agree that "it's all true at the same time." I'd sooner say that there may be components of truth to these ideas, but some of the interpretations and conclusions are very poor.

          That is to say, sure, there's some out of wedlock parenting. That's happening in various populations in this country, perhaps some populations at different rates than others. However, even if there's a greater rate of single parents in cities, it's not justified to jump to the conclusion, "Therefore these people are irresponsible and deserve to suffer." And at least to some degree, when inner cities were suffering, it wasn't that lawlessness and weak morality had caused economic problems, but rather that economic problems caused some degree of lawlessness and a breakdown of social order.

          On the other hand, a lot of rural communities have seen their economic base go from thriving to crashing in time periods that really no one could have predicted or could have adapted to. If you suck some large plurality of the economic base out of a rural region, there often isn't a fix for it besides closing the towns and mass-relocating the population. If there's any "fault", its in the hands of local civic leaders for not purposefully diversifying the local economy, a difficult task when it needs to be done at the crest of economic prosperity (when the big plant was setting output records), when nobody understands it could all end and when diversification may have failed due to lack of labor or access to markets.

          Part of my objection is that I've seen/heard people say this sort of thing about the current rural problems, who at other times have blamed inner-city poverty on things like "having children out of wedlock." I think the reality is that you could also argue that the inner cities went from thriving to crashing in a time period that no one foresaw. The people with money fled to the suburbs, pulling a lot of the functioning economy out of the cities. If there's a "fault", it was in civic leaders, government officials, and economic circumstances outside of the control of the people being affected.

          I don't want to get into a whole argument about the causes of each of these problems, and my goal isn't to diminish the concern for the suffering that's going on in rural areas right now. I just want to point out that, if you're currently holding both the position, "The government needs to help the poor working class white rural communities!" and also holding the position, "Black people in inner cities need to take responsibility for themselves instead of looking for government handouts!", then maybe you should consider whether you're exhibiting a bias.

    • Given their push to do same day delivery for some items it makes perfect sense for Amazon.
    • This is the progressive worst nightmare. If - and this is a big if - Trump can do something for the blacks in the inner city? The Democratic Party is finished. What happens when blacks discover that working and earning your own bread brings pride? It brings self-respect? It is tremendously damaging to a person's pride to accept handouts. To admit that you can't help yourself. If Trump can get these people off welfare and working, they will no longer need the Democrats, and this loss of votes will b
      • Helping the oppressed is what the democrats are about.

        With President Trump's approval ratings down to 33% and his hard core support finally wilting away as well, I don't think democrats have as much to worry about.

        Republican voters did a wonderful thing for Democrats when they elected Mr. Trump.

        Republican states average twice as much money back from the federal government as they pay in. So "welfare" is fine for republicans too.

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Thursday August 03, 2017 @10:47AM (#54933621)

    This kind of reminds me of longshoremen having to turn up at the docks every morning and stand on the stones just for a chance to get picked to work that day, with no guarantee that you would be working tomorrow. At least Amazon is providing health benefits, but I've heard horror stories about working for them, both in the warehouses and in technology positions.

    In my opinion, scenes like this are going to be more prevalent in the future as more stable work gets offshored or eliminated entirely due to automation. I've said this before, but working in big company IT you see positions all the time that could easily be dumped the second some MBA with a spreadsheet gets around to it. This has been the way of the world for decades though -- big companies were big enough and made enough money to afford to have a little slack in the system and still return profits to shareholders. With the push to put everyone through college instead of training them right out of high school, you have a lot of random business grads who may not have gotten good grades or learned much between all the partying. Big companies still hire a ton of these entry level graduates to do some random task. These graduates get/got a decent salary, stable work, and were able to build their lives around the fact that they would have income. As they settle down, new grads get promotions, buy houses, have children, pay taxes, and consume at increasing levels as their salaries increase. Because of this, the consumer cycle continues on -- companies produce goods that customers can afford to buy because they have jobs because companies can produce goods...

    Scenes like this are what make me think this cycle is breaking down. If you squeeze so much that an operation is 100% efficient and you have no more need for the vast majority of employees, then you cut out the ability for those former employees to participate in the economy. Forgoing a new grad hire at the help desk or support team for $40K because Tata will give you a "replacement" for $10K in India means that that new grad is going to have limited options and may end up in line at the Amazon warehouse for just over minimum wage. I don't know how to solve it -- people propose a universal basic income, and i think that's the best answer, but the people who happen to be on the positive side of this shift will never go for it. You would have to have massive unemployment, 50% or more, just to register that there's a problem in most people's minds, and I think that will lead to a pretty big upheaval in the not too distant future.

    Does that mean we should give people make-work? I think so, unless anyone has a plan for breaking society's dependence on getting an education, going to work, consuming, saving for retirement, and spending down your savings at the end of your life.

    • There is no Home Depot in your neighborhood where the day laborers hang out in the morning to get work?
      • Of course there is, but that's a much smaller swath of the population than will be showing up for work at Amazon once any other means of earning an income dries up. Amazon must realize the position they're in...they're free to abuse their workers as much as they want because there's 9,000 others waiting in line for the job.

        An analogy from the tech world is video game companies abusing and burning out their employees. So many people want to break into the "exciting world" of game development that they'll sac

        • So many people want to break into the "exciting world" of game development that they'll sacrifice their personal health for it and work as many 120 hour work weeks as their employers tell them to.

          I was a professional video game tester for six years. I never worked more than 60 hours per week. The only tester I knew who consistently worked 120 hours a week was a guy worked six months as a tester and took 24 units at college for six months. That's an insane way to work through school.

        • exempt employee abuse is not just in tech / gaming.

          In restaurants like dunkin donuts they want to pay an manger 35-40K to work 60+ hours just so they don't have to hire more hourly staff to cover all open hours and that manger is doing a lot of non manger stuff for a lot of the hours.

        • by Falos ( 2905315 )

          Disposables. Burn and churn.

          It's just good business. Self-optimizing systems trying to squeeze onto the capitalism glacier. It literally makes the most sense to push your work conditions until they're shitty enough that you're able to take advantage of the eight student loans, four immigrants, and unconvicted "felon" waiting outside. All in short order, to make room for more. We haven't had working AC since 1997 and they're lined up around the block to get in, lol.

          Yes, it's disgusting. We don't even treat m

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      This kind of reminds me of longshoremen having to turn up at the docks every morning and stand on the stones just for a chance to get picked to work that day, with no guarantee that you would be working tomorrow. At least Amazon is providing health benefits, but I've heard horror stories about working for them, both in the warehouses and in technology positions.

      Companies hold job fairs all the time, especially if they have a large number of openings, such as ramping up a new facility. Don't see why you are so worried. Maybe people are turning out in droves to Amazon because, while the pay might not be great, it's a strong, stable company which means you are more likely to have a stable job. Plus, (as you basically admit) most jobs at those wages don't offer healthcare-and with all the fuss in DC right now, the opportunity to get healthcare if you are lower inco

      • Obamacare will not last - with or without Trump. It was a failure from the beginning and is not worth saving,

        The best solution is to have health care on the state level. That way we don't come up with idiotic compromises between incompatible systems. If NY wants to include surgery for trans surgery and OK doesn't. Fine. Let people in those states decide.

        There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution.
        • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

          There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution.

          Yes there is. Single payer. It's ridiculous the US spends so much money on such mediocre healthcare. Why pay all this money to insurance companies who then turn around, keep some of the money, pay the remainder to the hospitals, then leave us to pay even more money to the hospitals? It makes much more sense to pay money to the government who can then pay the hospitals for us. Bonus points for no more chargemasters, no more different prices for insured/uninsured, 2 hospitals a block away charging vastly

          • Since I, and millions like me, will fight tooth-and-nail against you when it comes to that. Then NO. There isn't a one-size-solution.

            You want single payer? OK. Do it in your state. The f**king travesty that is Obamacare comes from people trying to force their idea on everyone. That's why states have power. In the US the states are not administrative units of the Federal Government. They are their own entity. You want single payer? Good for you. Pass it in your state. Show me that it works.

            You try to
            • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

              The f**king travesty that is Obamacare comes from people trying to force their idea on everyone.

              No, the travesty of Obamacare is that they are still forcing everyone to purchase health insurance. Cut out the insurance companies and healthcare costs drop immediately, simply because you are no longer paying the middleman. Why would you fight tooth and nail for the opportunity to pay one company money monthly just so you can pay another company a little less money? It makes much more sense to pay one time (or rather monthly in the form of taxes) and then not have to pay again. Insurance companies hav

              • Well. I'm one of those indoctrinated through libertarianism (I'm also an indoctrinator.). Yes, the nanny-state is bad; it is tyranny; and I have, and will continue to fight against it. So now, you're forced to fight millions to get single-payer instead of simply getting it for those who want to partake in it.

                Millions of people could be off the "capitalist grid" if they chose to. What they prefer is to force their ideas upon everyone (Whether it's single-payer or something else.). They point to the rousin
                • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

                  Well. I'm one of those indoctrinated through libertarianism (I'm also an indoctrinator.). Yes, the nanny-state is bad; it is tyranny; and I have, and will continue to fight against it.

                  It's not a nanny state. There are a certain number of services that individuals cannot realistically provide to/for themselves in any efficient or effective way. That is where government steps in. And it's not nanny state. Nanny state is the government telling you where can and can't live, what you can eat, who you can marry, how to live your life. Providing services that actually allow people to live their lives is the role of government. Are you going to maintain your own internet, pave your own roa

                  • Somalia is anarchy. There isn't rule of law; there isn't a government upholding a constitution with individual rights. So, this is a tired argument.

                    It is government involvement in health care (along with higher education) that has caused much of the problems.

                    - Insurance costs (for doctors) is a large expense. Much of it can be done away in heart beat with tort reform. The punishment for bad doctors should focus more on their being stripped of their license or jailed as opposed to higher tort fees. Th
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

      I've heard that you basically don't get a lunch break working in their warehouses. Because your lunch break is only 30 minutes, you can only eat in the break room, and most people work so far away from the break room that it would take over thirty minutes to walk there and back--so no one gets to eat for their shift.

      I've also heard that the temperatures in their warehouses can get insanely hot in the summer, since they apparently don't bother air-conditioning them, even in the deep south.

    • what about lower the full time hours and or upping 23K (is the new one still held up in court?) Minimum Salary for Exempt Employees

      Some places can call some one exempt pay them 25-30K for 60 hour weeks.

      Now lowering the full time mark can be an stop gap to universal basic income has more and more automation takes over and it can have less over head of make work in some cases.

      High turnover warehouse jobs with an high rate and lots of forced OT just leads to burn out / errors / people gaming the system or work

    • The problem is how much money is locked up in the stock market/assets/companies. Billions/trillions of dollars need to be liquidated, honestly (financial guy here), and it will totally destroy the current engine of capitalism momentarily. It's a game if chicken: which will break first, the people (revolt from being bled of $$ to fund the stock market/assets increases) or companies which eventually crash, wiping out all the labor that was put in to create those "dollars"
      Labor /money is just a fiction, a

    • A job fair reminds you of longshoreman day workers? The rest of your post was garbage too.
  • " blaming Amazon for a shift to buying goods online".
    Well, It would have happened sooner or later. I don't want the physical stores to go away but the fact is that many of them just can't compete with online. And the fact is that I only buy in brick and mortar when I have to have something right now. That, and when buying food or clothes
  • "Although the wages offered will make it hard for some to make ends meet" ... and this is the company owned by the richest man on the planet. Pathetic end result of unrestrained capitalism. Pathetic!!
  • I suppose this is evidence to the contrary that the US needs illegals because there are jobs Americans won't do.
  • Makes me think of times in the last century when people would line up in the hope of work for a day. There are bleak times ahead for us in the middle, when there will only be work for the unskilled (who have to do anything) and for the elite (who make a few decisions about the masses). I love what mechanisation and robotics has done for us but fear its future.

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