Morning Call: Problems as Amazon Hires New Staffers for Lehigh Valley Distribution Center

A few weeks after promising to hire hundreds of full-time employees in Pennsylvania, online retail giant Amazon.com’s application process has been plagued by a series of communications errors, according to a report published by the Morning Call last weekend.

Reporter Spencer Soper details the experience of 21-year-old Zach Jones:

After a test and interview with the temporary staffing firm ISS, [Jones] was told he was to begin working July 17, which was a few weeks away. So he quit a part-time job he had at a shopping mall to free his schedule for the full-time Amazon job.

But then Jones said he got a call from ISS asking why he didn’t show up for work before July 17. He explained there was a mistake and that he was scheduled to start July 17, and everything seemed squared away. He attended orientation at the Amazon warehouse prior to his start date and watched some safety videos.

“On July 17, I woke up at 5 in the morning, got ready for work, made lunch and drove 40 minutes to work,” said Jones, 21, of Palmerton. “They were giving out badges and when they called me up to the desk, I thought they were going to give me a badge … They entered all my information and said, ‘Sorry, your assignment’s been filled.'”

 

Jones initially thought he would be reassigned, but then he was told he’d have to reapply if he still wanted to work for Amazon. Only then did Jones notice the fine print on the bottom of the letter with his July 17 start date. It said jobs would be given on a “first-come, first-served basis.”

Soper’s report also recounts a conversation at a recruiting event last Thursday during which an Amazon employee was overheard saying that “people are coming in here with emails from ISS giving them a start date and they haven’t even been interviewed.” 

A spokeswoman for ISS, the staffing firm working with Amazon.com during the hiring process, attributed these experiences to a “clerical error” and noted that the company filled 100 jobs after last Thursday’s event at Lehigh Carbon Community College.

Amazon.com’s hiring efforts come just weeks after the company pledged to expand its operations in Pennsylvania, efforts a company spokesman attributed to Governor Corbett and the state legislature’s refusal to saddle online retailers with a sales tax burden.

Click here to read the full Morning Call report.

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