By Nin Garcia |Staff Writer|
Amazon plans to hire more than 1,000 people to work in the company’s new San Bernardino distribution center when it opens this fall.
Still under construction, the nearly 950,000 square foot building on the corner of Tippecanoe and Central Avenue near the San Bernardino International Airport is where the center will be located.
“The ‘fulfillment center’ will be one of two in the state where Amazon branded goods sold on the site will be stored at and shipped from,” said spokesman Ty Rogers.
Fulfillment centers are where products sold by other vendors on Amazon store their inventory. Amazon describes their fulfillment centers as modern, secure, facilities with a 24-hour security staff and fully automated wireless and computer networked order tracking throughout each facility.
A 2010 Huffington Post article, noted that the workers at the “fulfillment center” in Coffeyville, Kansas, engaged in “picking/ordering selecting” had starting salaries of $10.50 to $11 per hour and were expected to be standing anywhere from eight to 10 hours per day.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, from the U.S. Department of Labor, states that “hand laborers and material movers” get an average annual salary of $22,560, nationwide.
“These are not livable wages and they’re clearly not sufficient to bring up a family. If the workers at the upcoming fulfillment center are paid the national average of $22,560, they will be making less than the threshold of poverty for a family of four, that is, they will not be able to bring up healthy families,” said Dr. Toruno, CSUSB professor of economics.
“Having a thousand new jobs would be good. But you have to remember that San Bernardino and Riverside Counties have over 1.5 million working people and currently over 200,000 unemployed people and, so a thousand new jobs isn’t a ‘game changer’ for the local area,” said CSUSB Professor Nilsson.
It’s a small drop in the bucket, although for the thousand people who get these jobs they might be very appreciated,” continued Nilsson.
Nilsson goes on to say that the jobs Amazon are creating will not be “good” jobs. Amazon is known to use a large number of temporary workers who are dismissed from their jobs after a number of months.
Nilsson had mentioned that Amazon has a reputation of being very demanding, with workers fired for not keeping up with a very grueling pace or for not following sometimes arbitrary work rules. These workers are often forced to work in very unpleasant conditions.
“I don’t think I’d want to work in a huge un-air conditioned warehouse in the middle of summer in San Bernardino. So, yes, it will be good to have a thousand new jobs. But no one can pretend these are good jobs,” said Nilsson.