Amazon has begun giving out bonuses to its workers that go up as high as $3,000 each to ensure that it has enough human resources to support the upcoming holiday season that is expected to be busy with customers ordering online.
However, the gesture is a bit late for some employees who were only given coupons for Thanksgiving turkeys as compensation for their hard work.
Several social media platform chat rooms where Amazon workers gather to talk have become extremely active. One employee shared a picture of a turkey voucher worth $15, which fueled others to post the coupons they received, which were worth $20 or $25. On the other hand, others shared they got nothing.
Previously, an Amazon worker in Alabama revealed that his warehouse received vouchers worth $10 each that colleagues joked about as too little to buy a turkey leg. However, others urged the individual to be optimistic and glad it was not taxed, unlike others’ bonuses.
Due to Amazon’s reluctance to acknowledge the coronavirus pandemic’s significant threat, many workers are anxious about going back on-site. Despite the national unemployment rate reaching 6.9%, which is double the numbers before the pandemic, searches for seasonal work have dropped by 25% compared with last year.
The decline in willingness to work partly comes from the trickling unemployment benefits that some citizens continue to receive that supply their necessities. Additionally, the bigger factor that stops people from looking for jobs is the fear of contracting the deadly COVID-19 virus.
With the threat of the coronavirus, more and more people are opting to go online shopping, increasing demand. Amazon has decided to combat the surge of orders and avoid delivery delays by employing more people, even at the cost of having too many employees. The company started handing out signing bonuses a few weeks ago.
Some of the benefits were worth as much as $3,000 for workers in California and Illinois facilities, $2,000 for Maryland and Massachusetts staff, and $1,500 to several other facilities across the nation. A management professor and director of the Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Peter Cappelli, said that people are now more worried about the coronavirus than the added compensation.
Cappelli said, “Many people without jobs still expect to be recalled, so they are having the same thought, whether picking up a short-term job is worth the risk. That’s why it is harder to find people even with the high rates of joblessness,” the San Francisco Gate reported.
When Bloomberg expressed its concerns about Amazon’s staffing, the online retailer did not address the issue. The company offers its employees a minimum wage of $15 per hour with health and retirement benefits, job training, and opportunities for career growth. A spokeswoman for Amazon said that when comparing their overall pay and additional benefits with other retailers, they are providing good compensation for their workers.
Despite the benefits, several workers in different states said Amazon is carelessly overstaffing its facilities. With social distancing guidelines, most employees stand and wait for a place to work in. Additionally, they said that management orders them to take voluntary time off 30 minutes after the beginning of their shift if they have too many people grouped up in one place.
The president of Rakuten Rewards, Kristen Gall, said that if the coronavirus pandemic and the economy worsen, people would be less likely to come back to their workplaces. She said that Amazon would only convince workers to prefer it over its competitors if they compensate them greatly, which would be very expensive.