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Nev. RV Parks Benefiting From Amazon Workers

November 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Standing in front of his shop, Fernley (Nev.) ice cream maker Steve Cordes watches hundreds of workers come and go at Amazon’s huge Internet fulfillment facility.

That work force — many of them temporary employees hired for a few months to handle the massive volume of seasonal transactions at Amazon — provides a significant boost in revenue at Steve’s Homemade Ice Cream and dozens of other Lyon County businesses during a normally soft time for sales, according to the Northern Nevada Business Weekly.

Amazon hires tens of thousands of seasonal workers for pick-and-pack jobs at its U.S. fulfillment centers beginning in October. Seattle-based Amazon said in a news release earlier this year that it expects to hire as many as 70,000 full-time seasonal workers to fill orders at its fulfillment centers.

Hundreds of local workers travel to Fernley in recreational vehicles and stay at the Desert Rose or Fernley RV parks. Both parks work under contract with Amazon to place seasonal workers. Desert Rose has more than 100 sites, while Fernley RV Park has just 40.

Will MacDonald, general manager of Fernley RV Park, says the contract with Amazon has transformed the RV park from a seasonal to a full-time business. Workers make their own reservations at the parks and get a spot to house their RVs for a month or two, and the parks bill Amazon for the monthly rent.

Fernley RV Park is in its third year under contract with Amazon, while Desert Rose was part of a pilot program with Amazon to house its seasonal workforce in Lyon County. Fernley RV Park averages between 25 and 30 campers each year. For a town the size of Fernley, MacDonald says, the economic impact of adding 400 to 500 people is much greater than it would be elsewhere.

For the full story, click here.

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Workampers Help Amazon Meet Holiday Rush

December 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

To read the entire story and view an accompanying video click here.

It’s 5:30 p.m. outside a huge Amazon fulfillment center in Fernley, Nev., population 19,000. Workers pour out of the doors as a new wave of employees arrive. They’re putting in close to 12-hour shifts round the clock during the final Christmas rush.

As reported by NBC News, some employees leave and go home to RVs, a few of them parked, ironically, in a Walmart parking lot across the street.

These are “workampers,” temporary seasonal workers who roam the country in Winnebagos and Fleetwoods. They’re filling the 31 RV parks around Fernley, east of Reno, to work for another few weeks at a center Amazon has had here since 1999.

“I’ve gotten to know a lot of really cool people, and I’m really going to miss them,” says 50-year-old Sharon Scofield. “But then I’m excited that I get to come back again next year, hopefully, and see them again.”

Scofield and her husband have set up temporary residence at the Fernley RV Park, where 60% of the 49 spots are occupied by members of Amazon’s “camperforce”. Temporary employees are paid about $12 an hour, plus overtime, and Scofield plans to use her income to pay for gas for her Winnebago all year. “The work is hard,” she says. What does she do for fun after hours? “Sleep.”

Amazon says it’s hired 50,000 seasonal workers and may keep some of them after the holidays. Workampers say the company recruits during the off season in places like Quartzsite, Ariz., where many of them winter.

To read the entire story and view an accompanying video click here.

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