Amazon offers higher pay for switching to grocery work amid increased food demand

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Amazon is trying to entice its warehouse workers to pick and pack Whole Foods groceries with higher pay amid increased demand for food, an internal document reveals.

The document, as reported by Reuters, shows how the tech giant is trying to reallocate a portion of its army of employees to deal with a coronavirus-fueled spike in online grocery sales.

“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 in California, Nevada, and Tennessee.

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Amazon is offering warehouse workers higher pay if they'll agree to pack groceries at Whole Foods Market.

Amazon is offering warehouse workers higher pay if they'll agree to pack groceries at Whole Foods Market. (iStock)

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

According to Reuters, employees who are selected to make the switch can make $19 per hour, which is a $2 pay bump on top of the increase Amazon announced earlier this month.

“As we continue to see a significant increase in demand for grocery orders, we are offering temporary opportunities for associates across our fulfillment network to provide additional support,” an Amazon spokesperson said on late Friday, confirming the action to Reuters.

Grocery shoppers nationwide have seen items on Amazon listed as out of stock or with much longer delivery times as the company struggles to keep up with demand for food. At some Whole Foods locations in New York, shelves have been cleared of certain essentials like rice, pasta and bottled water, until the company is able to restock.

Amazon announced the hiring of 100,000 full and part-time positions across the U.S. in fulfillment and delivery networks, including in Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods delivery.

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