Exclusive: Amazon entices warehouse employees to grocery unit with higher pay

Canada

A sign encouraging hand sanitizer use is pictured in the Amazon Obidos lobby in the South Lake Union neighborhood, normally a busy area for Amazon and the biotech industry, as companies have instructed employees to work from home if they can during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Redmond

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc is offering higher pay to recruit its own warehouse employees to pick and pack Whole Foods groceries amid rising demand and a worker shortage, according to an internal document reviewed by Reuters.

This move, known as labor sharing, highlights how the ecommerce giant is reallocating some of its vast workforce to handle a spike in online sales of groceries, as millions of American are stuck at home amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Amazon offers online grocery services through Amazon Fresh from its own grocery warehouses, and Amazon Prime Now, which delivers from its Whole Foods stores.

“The Prime Now business has seen a mass increase in volume and is now offering labor share opportunities,” Amazon said in a message sent to warehouse workers in Maryland, which was reviewed by Reuters. Workers in other states where Amazon operates grocery services have received similar communications, including California, Nevada, and Tennessee.

Employees who are selected to make the switch can make $19 per hour, a $2 raise on top of the pay hike Amazon announced earlier this month. Amazon Fresh positions require working in a freezer environment, while a Prime Now shopper role entails picking and packing products for online orders in a Whole Foods store under tight time limits

Reporting by Krystal Hu; editing by Vanessa O’Connell and Steve Orlofsky

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