With the impending automation, Amazon is investing $ 700 million to recycle 100,000 US workers.
The goal is to transfer one-third of Amazon's workforce by 2025 to high-demand jobs within the company, focused on software engineering, data science, robotics, and coordination logistics to ship products. Nevertheless, the company says its free recycling programs will help employees to "hold highly skilled positions within or outside of Amazon".
"The American workforce is changing, the need for technical skills in the workplace is greater than ever before, Amazon is no exception," the company said in the announcement. .
This investment comes as the e-commerce giant increasingly uses robots to respond to orders, including experimenting with delivery drones. The upcoming automation is about to remove the jobs of Amazon's warehouse workers, while reducing the costs of the company.
In the meantime, Amazon still relies on thousands of employees to quickly pack its orders and ship them. However, the company has faced repeated criticism for the working conditions of its warehouses. Employees at one of Minnesota's warehouses plan to strike on July 15 – during the First Day of Amazon – ask the e-commerce giant to cut productivity quotas that they claim jeopardize the safety of their jobs.
Legislators, including US presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have also threatened to regulate the company.
However, Amazon has declared its commitment to support its employees. Last October, the minimum wage for company employees was raised to $ 15 per hour, although it also removed a component of incentive compensation. "Thanks to our continued investments in local communities in more than 40 states across the country, we have created tens of thousands of jobs in the United States over the past year," said the vice president of Amazon, Beth Galetti, in a statement.
The current $ 700 million investment could also serve as a recruitment tool for the company. Recycling opportunities will apply to workers at Amazon's central offices, distribution centers, retail centers and transportation networks. The programs cover computer programming, AI-based machine learning skills, and use of Amazon's AWS cloud service.
"The most dynamic, highly skilled jobs of Amazon in the last five years are: data mapping specialist (growth of 832%), data scientist (505%), solutions architect (454%) ), security engineer (229%) and business analyst (160%), "the company said.
Another retraining program will help business workers gain the skills they need to fill a high-demand position of their choice. Workers only have to pay 5% of tuition fees. According to the Amazon website, recycling programs will be largely organized virtually and via on-site classrooms.
In total, Amazon employs 630,000 people worldwide. "We are starting (recycling programs) in the United States, but this is a long-term and just early commitment, "said an Amazon spokeswoman at PCMag.
However, the The United International Federation of United Food and Commercial Workers says the $ 700 million investment will not be enough to help the workers of the company. "Amazon is injecting money on a problem that it has created and thinks it deserves applause." It's an insult to the thousands of Amazon workers who are forced to endure dangerous working conditions and face impossible demands every day, "said UFCW President Marc Perrone.
"Amazon has become an economic arsonist who has suddenly decided to put out the fires that it triggers, "he said. added.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with comments from the UFCW.