Urged by Pandemic, Amazon participates in contract work without equality


During the summer, Amazon converted most of the 175,000 temporary workers to permanent employees and eliminated all workers ’overtime wages. Since then, it continues with recording waves.

The company has nearly tripled the number of U.S. warehouses used for last-mile shipments this year, said Marc Wulfraat, founder of logistics consulting firm MWPVL International, which tracks Amazon’s operations. Transport drives are usually contractors, so Amazon does not disclose their numbers in regulatory submissions.

“In recent years, they’ve built their own UPS,” Wulfraat said. “There has never been such a pace of change.”

Ms. Williams said Amazon has built relationships with downsizing companies such as Uber, American Airlines and Marriott to facilitate its recruitment.

“We dedicated a group that did nothing but contact organizations that were temporary or permanent in nature,” he said. “This has allowed us to employ a skilled, quality workforce and can transfer them very quickly and easily to the right opportunities for Amazon.”

The effort has been aided by 1,000 technology workers who have created software for Amazon’s human resources teams, building many portals and algorithms that automate recording, he said. Prospective employees can find, apply for, and hire jobs completely online without talking to a single person.

For so much growth, Amazon needs to think long-term, Ms. Williams said. As a result, he said the company has already laid the groundwork for technology education in partnership with kindergartens, so “when our rental demand unfolds over the next 10 years, this pipeline is ready.”

Michael Corkery contributed to reports in New York.