Holiday ramp-up: Amazon to hire 1,500 seasonal workers

Holiday ramp-up: Amazon to hire 1,500 seasonal workers

October 17th, 2012 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

A conveyor belt carries packages to be loaded onto trucks at the Bradley County, Tenn., Amazon Fulfillment Services facility.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.


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Distribution centers:

• Chattanooga

• Charleston

• Murfreesboro

• Lebanon

Jordan Akins of Chattanooga had just gotten hired Tuesday for seasonal work at the Amazon distribution center and was looking forward to starting his job in early November.

"It's the largest Internet retail company," he said. "I thought I'd check it out."

At Amazon's four Tennessee fulfillment centers, two in the Chattanooga area, the company plans to hire "thousands" of workers for the busy Christmas holiday season, the retailer said.

The seasonal hires in the state are part of 50,000 temporary jobs that the Seattle-based business plans to employ for the holidays nationwide.

"Temporary associates play a critical role in meeting increased customer demand during the holiday season, and we expect thousands of temporary associates will stay on in full-time positions," Dave Clark, Amazon's vice president of global customer fulfillment, said in a statement Tuesday.

Amazon is likely to hire up to 1,500 or so temporary workers alone at its Chattanooga and Charleston, Tenn., centers which opened last year, according to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Job-seeker Victoria Marsh of Chattanooga said she had applied for an Amazon slot at the Lee Highway office of Integrity Staffing, which is helping Amazon find local workers, and was hopeful she'd get hired.

"It has more benefits. It pays more than other jobs," she said. Marsh said she also hoped the post would become full-time.

In Murfreesboro, Tenn., where Amazon opened a distribution site earlier this year, 3,000 temporary workers are to be hired, said Cathy Brotherton, who manages the Tennessee Career Center there for the state Department of Labor.

She said a private staffing company has set up shop at that center to help find the employees, which she doesn't think will be a problem given the economy.

The warehouse workers Amazon is hiring will start at between $10.50 to $11.50 an hour, Brotherton said.

Amazon also is hiring for its Tennessee center in Lebanon, Tenn.

In September, Amazon announced it was hiring 250 more full-time workers in Chattanooga unrelated to the holidays to meet higher demand.

An Amazon official said earlier this year that the company's Chattanooga and Charleston distribution centers would likely employ 5,000 workers at some point this year. That's well above the 4,000 full-time and temporary workers the two locations had at their peak during the last Christmas period, the official said then.

This summer, Amazon finished a physical expansion to the Chattanooga site that included adding onto an existing second-level mezzanine. The expansion was to have boosted floor space in the facility to equal to 28 football fields.