Amazon hiring 1,000 employees in Gates and Rochester — but how much are they paying?
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — People in suits lined up behind folks in sweatpants at Amazon’s hiring event in Gates on Friday. In a crowded community center with a line out the door, hundreds put their hat in the ring to work in one of Amazon’s three local warehouses. Many open spots are for the brand new, not-yet-opened massive fulfillment center in Gates, where full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers are needed.
“I just wanted to apply for a job, needed a job, needed some work,” 26-year-old Justin Dake said.
Marcus Henry, 37, said he was looking for “a better job [and] a better future.”
So will factory work provide a better future? Amazon’s pay starts at $16/hour, which comes out to $33,280 a year for full-time employees. That’s a hair above $15.89/hour ($33,051 annually), which is what MIT found is the living wage for Rochester.
Local jobs on Amazon’s website – which are legally required to show their salaries as of last week – tapped out at $18.90/hour ($39,312 annually), with many stopping lower – $17.50, $17.10, and $16 were all caps listed.
Keisha Albers said if she was offered a position, her lowest acceptable salary would be $17.50.
“Because I been in the game a long time, I think I deserve that,” she said.
Kaylee Kelsey, who lived in Tennessee for a while, was happier with less.
“I know they said […] it’s roughly $16.50 an hour, which, where I come from, is not bad,” she said. “So it’s definitely a step up from where I’ve worked in the past.”
Others make even less. Nevin Snyder, 19, works in the food service industry, where he said he makes $13.75. Minimum wage for most positions in New York State is $14.20.
In Rochester, many make close to that minimum wage. Census data shows one in three people live in poverty, with the city’s per capita income sitting at about $27,000. The median household income is at roughly $40,000.
While none of those numbers directly capture the average full-time worker’s salary, they do paint a bit of Rochester’s economic picture.
While some were in line for benefits semi-specific to Amazon. Snyder said he needed nights because he takes care of his grandmother during the day. Similarly, Kelsey needed part-time work so she could factor in her daughter. Others, like Dake, said they were here to pay the bills.
“When you’re applying for jobs, it’s not so much applying for the job you want,” Dake said. “It’s about applying for the job that’s going to get you the money that you need to survive.”
Amazon’s upstate New York representative Marc Heintzman said there’s no hard opening date for the Gates facility. He also said they were unsure how many people would be needed before it’s fully staffed, and he couldn’t say how many positions would be full-time. However, they are hiring for the holiday season at that location.