Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has announced that it’s going to hire 100,000 additional workers here in the US just to keep up with the massive increase in orders due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The company is in need of full-time and part-time warehouse and delivery workers, and is encouraging anyone in the travel, restaurant and hospitality industries who has recently been laid off or furloughed due to the coronavirus outbreak to apply for the openings.
“We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back” said David Clark, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations in a blog post.
The company is also raising the hour rate it pays its warehouse and delivery workers by $2/hour here in the US through April as a way to compensate them for the increased demands placed on them to keep up with orders.
The announcement comes at a time when Amazon is facing a shortage of critical products, and those that are available have lengthy delivery delays.
As more and more traditional stores are running out of supplies like toilet paper and water, shoppers turn to Amazon to find those items, only to see little to no supply. Right now virtually all toilet paper was out of stock, and what was in-stock had a shipping date of mid-to-late April.
Even common grocery items are no longer available next-day with Prime delivery, many show a wait of up to four days, and Amazon Fresh grocery delivery even told some shoppers that delivery was unavailable due to overwhelming demand and low supplies.
The company also added in a blog post Saturday “We believe our role serving customers and the community during this time is a critical one, and we want to make sure people can get the items they need, when they need them. We are working around the clock with our selling partners to ensure availability on all of our products, and bring on additional capacity to deliver all of your orders.”
The company is facing multiple challenges to keep up with delivery demands, most notably that many of its Chinese suppliers have been shut down due to the coronavirus and have yet to ramp production back up, if at all.
Additionally, the company is facing a worker shortage after it announced earlier this month that employees could take unlimited unpaid time off through the end of March. Apparently, many fulfillment center workers are simply not showing up for scheduled shifts, leaving the company shorthanded.
The company also said it will increase efforts to clean its delivery centers, saying it would be “increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning at all of its sites and requiring that employees sanitize and clean their work stations and vehicles at the start and end of every shift.”
Just recently five Amazon fulfillment center workers in Europe tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, and a company spokesman said the company is following all guidance from health officials related to operating its buildings.