Amazon hiring 75K more workers to keep up with demand during pandemic

Business
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SEATTLE (CNN) — Amazon plans to hire 75,000 more workers to meet increased demand for household essentials and other goods spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

The tech giant on Monday also said it has hired 100,000 new workers for its distribution centers since announcing plans to do so in mid-March. Amazon said it now expects to spend more than $500 million in pay increases for workers, up from its previous expectation of $350 million.

Amazon faces a difficult balancing act. The company is racing to bring on workers to meet surging demand from customers who are stuck inside at the same time that it faces pressure from lawmakers and workers to take more safety precautions and potentially close facilities hit by the virus.

“Our top concern is ensuring the health and safety of our employees. We made over 150 process updates to help protect employees—from enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures to piloting new efforts like using disinfectant fog in our New York fulfillment center,” Amazon wrote in a blog post on Monday.

There have been coronavirus cases reported at facilities in Washington, California and New York among others, prompting calls for fulfillment centers to be closed for deep cleaning. Employees have also staged walkouts to protest Amazon’s decision to keep warehouses open.

Earlier this month, Amazon said it would rapidly expand temperature checks for employees. But some Amazon employees and applicants previously told CNN Business they continue to be worried about crowded hiring events, limited access to disinfectant wipes and Amazon’s overall ability to follow through on its promises.

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