Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Amazon plans to add 5 new centers in metro Detroit, spurring 2,000 permanent jobs

Posted By on Tue, Jan 12, 2021 at 11:01 AM

click to enlarge SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Shutterstock.com

Amazon.com Inc. announced on Monday that it’s opening five new centers in metro Detroit that are expected to generate more than 2,000 permanent jobs.

The expansion includes fulfillment centers in Detroit, Hazel Park, Pontiac, and Huron Township, and a sortation center in Plymouth.

The full- and part-time jobs will pay a minimum of $15 an hour and comprehensive benefits, the company said.

One of the new sites is an 823,000 square-foot fulfillment center in Detroit that is expected to create 1,200 new jobs at the old Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit. If all goes as planned, the center will open in 2022.

click to enlarge Rendition of the Amazon fulfillment center on the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit. - STERLING GROUP
  • Sterling Group
  • Rendition of the Amazon fulfillment center on the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit.

It will be the fourth fulfillment center in Michigan that uses robots to help locate, pack, and ship smaller packages.

“We’re excited to be expanding our network to better serve our customers in the great city of Detroit,” Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfillment, said in a statement. “We are grateful for the strong support we’ve received from local and state leaders as we broaden our footprint throughout Michigan. We look forward to bringing more than 2,000 good jobs to Metro Detroit and contributing positively to the community.”

Mayor Mike Duggan said he’s excited about the new jobs.

"We're thrilled that Amazon selected Detroit for what will be one of the largest fulfillment centers in Michigan,” Duggan said in a statement. “Amazon has been a great partner and its most important delivery will be the 3,000 construction jobs, 1,200 permanent jobs and new small business opportunities this new facility will bring to our city."

In October, the State Fairgrounds Development Coalition filed a lawsuit against the city of Detroit and Duggan to prevent the sale of land for the distribution center. Less than a month later, the state Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s restraining order preventing the sale, giving the sale the green light.

Activists are calling on Amazon to preserve the fairgrounds’ old bandshell that hosted famous musician acts such as Duke Ellington, the Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Krupa, Les Paul, Louis Armstrong, Hank Williams, Tommy Dorsey, and Nat King Cole. Amazon said it’s considering saving the relic.

click to enlarge Michigan Sate Fairgrounds bandshell. - DAVID GIFFORD
  • David Gifford
  • Michigan Sate Fairgrounds bandshell.

Amazon’s jobs are not without controversy. In April, workers staged a walk-out protest at Amazon's Romulus facility over a lack of transparency amid the coronavirus pandemic. In September, U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Debbie Dingell said they found “unsafe conditions” when they visited the Romulus facility in September.

At other Amazon warehouses, workers have complained about grueling conditions.

Amazon is now America's second-largest private employer, behind Walmart.

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