Written by Mike Copeland
The new Amazon fulfillment center in Waco has not officially opened, but already the delivery giant is raising its bottom wages.
Daniel Martin, Amazon regional public relations manager, said the center at 2000 Exchange Parkway “will be looking to hire several hundred full-time associates over the coming weeks,” and employees will make $15.50 an hour to start, a 50-cent increase from the $15 Amazon pledged in October 2020.
The company remains mum about when the $250 million facility will begin delivering packages. A hiring event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Heart of Texas Workforce Solutions, New Road and Speight Avenue.
Martin said Amazon continues to ramp up operations, and intends to hire more than 1,000 employees. Employment may increase “as we look at seasonal hiring and staffing for the holiday season,” Martin said.
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He said Amazon employees receive a benefits package that includes comprehensive health, vision and dental insurance on the first day of employment; a 401(k) plan that includes a 50% company match; paid parental leave up to 20 weeks; and fully paid college tuition and training for in-demand jobs through Amazon’s Career Choice and Upskilling programs.
Jose Palacios, who manages business and industry initiatives at HOT Workforce Solutions, said about 200 people attended an Amazon job fair the center hosted two weeks ago. A similar turnout would please him.
He said Amazon now is hiring to fill warehouse positions, having previously pursued employees for upper- and middle-management slots. Asked about Martin’s mention of $15.50 starting pay, Palacios said he has seen Amazon postings that peg starting pay in Waco at $16 to $17.
Palacios said warehouse workers locally tend to earn $12 to $16 an hour.
An online Amazon-related posting says its Waco warehouse workers will make up to $18.40 an hour. A job description says warehouse staffers must be able to lift 49 pounds, push a utility cart up to 60 pounds, work at heights up to 35 feet, operate forklifts and use package scanning equipment.
They also must have the ability to “stand, walk, push, pull, squat, bend and reach” throughout a shift. Employees love their job, says Amazon, because they and their teammates remain busy their entire shift.