The company announced Tuesday that it was seeking nearly 4,800 employees in the city and surrounding counties, part of a nationwide plan of hiring 125,000 people. The warehouse jobs come with an average starting pay of $18 an hour plus health, retirement, and other benefits. Positions include package sorters and staffers who unload trailers.
With the pandemic pushing consumers to shop online, Amazon has snatched up facilities and last year posted more job openings here than any other employer. Amazon had more than 50 warehouses in operation or being built in the region as of April. The company currently employs about 25,000 people in Pennsylvania.
Amazon officials announced the latest hiring spree during a news conference outside City Hall, where elected officials praised the company for hiring residents at a time when unemployment remains high. There are now nearly 670,000 jobs in Philadelphia, still below the 750,000 the city had in February of 2020, Mayor Jim Kenney said.
“Today’s announcement is a big step on the road to recovery,” Kenney said.
Amazon officials would not say how many workers from the city would be hired. But it plans to focus its hiring efforts in underserved communities, said Sam Bankole, a senior staffing manager for the company. That could include in Camden and Wilmington, as well, Amazon officials said. The company will also expand benefits for workers to include full college tuition and skills training programs.
The web retail giant has faced criticism from labor and community groups. An Inquirer analysis of federal data showed that Amazon’s warehouses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware had higher rates of serious injuries than facilities run by other companies. Residents have also complained about increased traffic from delivery trucks in neighborhoods hosting the warehouses.
Amazon takes safety seriously, Bankole said, conducting thousands of safety observations daily and partnering with scientists and health professionals to improve safety standards. As for the traffic, the company is organizing delivery routes to avoid the morning and evening rush hours, said Maura Kennedy, Amazon’s economic development manager.
Hundreds of jobs will come to Southwest Philadelphia, where there is an existing Amazon site and another being built on land that SEPTA initially wanted, officials said. The e-retail behemoth plans to build a delivery center at 6901 Elmwood Ave. to load and dispatch light delivery vans.
“There was a discussion and debate over that site,” said State Sen. Anthony Williams (D., Phila.). “We need investment now.”