Amazon has at least 10 last-mile warehouses planned or in...

Amazon has at least 10 last-mile warehouses planned or in use on Long Island.  Credit: NurPhoto via Getty Images/NurPhoto Inc. plans to hire 150,000 seasonal staffers, including more than 1,800 in New York City and on Long Island, a spokeswoman said Monday.

The hiring represents about 50% more than last year as the company seeks a cushion of workers to help it meet demand during the holiday shopping period.

The world’s largest online retailer typically hires legions of temporary workers this time of year to help store, pack and ship items from its warehouses. Since the pandemic supercharged online shipping last year, Amazon has been rapidly expanding its logistics operation, opening suburban "last-mile" warehouses and smaller, urban delivery depots at a pace of roughly one per day. In September, the company said it had already opened 250 U.S. logistics facilities in 2021 and would inaugurate an additional 100 that month alone.

Amazon has at least 10 last-mile warehouses planned or in use on Long Island. In addition to the seasonal hires, the company is filling 1,500 permanent positions in New York City and on Long Island, the spokeswoman said.

Amazon said on Monday its average starting pay in the U.S. was $18 an hour. Facing fierce competition for entry-level workers, the company has also been offering signing bonuses of as much as $3,000, depending on location, and as much as an additional $3 per hour for workers willing to work overnight or weekend shifts.

During the company’s earnings call with analysts in July, chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said wage pressure was starting to show up in the company’s expenses. "While we have very good staffing levels, it’s not without a cost," Olsavsky said.

Amazon, the second-largest private U.S. employer after Walmart Inc., employed 1.3 million people at the end of June. Last year at this time, the company said it would hire about 100,000 seasonal workers.

Workers fulfill orders at an Amazon fulfillment center on Prime...

Workers fulfill orders at an Amazon fulfillment center on Prime Day, June 21, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The online retail giant says it will hire 150,000 for the holiday season.  Credit: Bloomberg/Rachel Jessen

House threatens criminal probe

Separately Monday, House lawmakers threatened to seek a criminal investigation of Amazon, saying the tech giant has a "final chance" to correct its executives' previous testimony on its competition practices.

The lawmakers sent a letter to Amazon President and CEO Andy Jassy saying they were giving the company until Nov. 1 to "correct the record" and provide new documents and evidence. The missive marks an escalation in the bipartisan battle against Amazon by the House Judiciary Committee panel that has investigated the market dominance of Big Tech.

The letter says the antitrust subcommittee is considering referring the case to the Justice Department for criminal investigation. It accuses the world's biggest online retailer of at least misleading Congress and possibly outright lying.

It cites recent media reports detailing Amazon's alleged practice of undercutting the businesses that sell on its platform by making "knock-offs," or very similar products, and boosting their presence on the site. The reports contradict the testimony of Amazon executives, the letter says.

Amazon denied that its executives had misled the panel in their testimony.

with Newsday staff

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