It's not easy moving more than half a billion packages per year, and Amazon is counting on offering a $15 an hour minimum wage come November to give its current and future employees added incentive to get the job done.
"It would be nice to get $15 an hour,” said Michael Rossi of Highlandtown, “My last job was like $11.25."
Rossi has come to the Workforce Development Center at Eastpoint seeking help in making himself more marketable for a job at a time when companies like Amazon are finding it difficult to hire enough workers in a tight labor market.
Amazon already employs 5,000 workers in Maryland, and with its newest distribution center in Sparrows Point preparing to open, as many as 1,500 more workers could benefit from the wage hike.
"You think about those people who are coming out of our communities in Dundalk
and Edgemere that have been waiting for the return of jobs---for them to hear the news that the jobs that were at $13 an hour and up were now at $15 and up, that makes a huge impact on our families in the county," said Will Anderson, the director of the county’s Department of Economic & Workforce Development.
And those in nearby Baltimore City, where people like Michael Rossi are hoping to turn their own fortunes around.
"I'm making ends meet, but right now I'm looking. I'm out of a job. So, yes, it's tough," said Rossi.
And the timing apparently couldn't be better, as companies compete for workers ahead of the holiday season, now offering more money in hopes that it will make a difference.
"$15 is a step in the right direction, and all I can say is that it's great for someone that's unemployed to get a job at that wage,” said Mary Manzoni, the county’s workforce manager, “I'm excited for the job seekers that are going to be working at Amazon and I give Amazon kudos for doing that."