Former employees surprised by Amazon’s hiring announcement

Posted at 10:46 PM, Jul 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-30 08:17:30-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Amazon announced plans Monday to hire 7,000 workers for its U.S. operation, with most jobs offering pay and benefits far above typical retail wages, the company said.

The online retail giant is expected to hire 5,000 new employees across 13 states and another 2,000 for their call centers.

The announcement came as a surprise to some people who used to work for the company.

"They would constantly, like say, oh yea, we're really really busy, we're really really busy today, we'll be on mandatory overtime. But then they'll send people home, because there was not enough work," said a former employee who remained off-camera.

Evan Tucker is a rising second-year student at the University of Virginia, and he said he’s surprised to hear the company is hiring. He spent seven weeks at Amazon's Dinwiddie Fulfillment Center, which opened in 2012.

The other fulfillment center is located in Chesterfield.

"So with the amount of people that were there to work, there wasn't a lot of work for it to be spread around to everyone, and so they would send people home,” said Tucker.

Both plants are more than one million square feet but handle different items. The Dinwiddie facility has more than 300 employees and handles large items.

The Chesterfield facility has 1,140 workers and handles the smaller items shipped out daily by Amazon. Both facilities were opened in 2012, at a $135 million investment.

"There's people out there that you know have kids, or you know, doing everything they can to survive and they work for this company and they let them go like flies, it's not fair to them,” said a former employee.

Both facilities are expected to increase their employees for the holiday season, similar to what they did last year, when 200 seasonal workers were added.

In a statement released Monday, Amazon indicated they are going to continue to increase their next day deliveries and are looking into ways to have same day deliveries as well.