C&B Notes

“Amazon” Town: Modern-Day Migrant Workers

In tougher economic times, people are finding creative ways to earn a living:

Behind the piles of smiley-faced Amazon.com Inc. boxes arriving on doorsteps this holiday season are workers like Ray and Sarann Williams.

The retired couple are part of the swarm of seasonal employees taking up temporary residence in this small desert city — home to one of Amazon’s warehouses — to help the online-retail giant fulfill its influx of holiday orders.

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A spokeswoman for Amazon, which has 51,000 staffers excluding seasonal workers world-wide, said it hires “thousands” of temporary workers for the holidays, but declined to disclose specific numbers.  It said it quadrupled its staff at its warehouse in Phoenix to 1,200 to handle the end-of-year rush.

Many of these employees belong to the community of “workampers,” a sort of modern-day migrant worker.  Many of them are retirees who spend all or part of the year living in RVs and taking odd seasonal jobs around the country.  While some workers really need the money, others said they take the gigs to help fund their adventures or just for fun.

>> Read more in The Wall Street Journal