Business

New Amazon facility in Charlotte opens. It’ll hire 1,500 people to work with robots

Amazon’s first robotics fulfillment center in North Carolina is open for business.

Hundreds of employees started work Sept. 2 at the Charlotte facility, which will ship smaller customer orders including books, electronics, household items and toys, according to an Amazon statement. Robots at fulfillment centers can lift heavy items or transport products, Amazon wrote in a blog post.

The online retail company plans to have 1,500 full-time employees at the facility near Charlotte Douglas International Airport by the holiday shopping season.

The company is still hiring. Interested applicants can text CLTNOW to 77088 for more information.

The facility covers 855,000 square feet — roughly the size of 15 football fields. Starting wage at Amazon fulfillment centers is $15 an hour, with benefits, Amazon spokeswoman Rachael Lighty said.

The Charlotte City Council voted in 2018 to approve $13.4 million in incentives to bring the Amazon facility to the city.

The new facility is just one of several in the area. A fulfillment center in Kannapolis employs about 1,000 full-time workers, the company told the Observer in May. Amazon is also developing fulfillment centers in Garner and Kernersville.

But the Charlotte facility is the only North Carolina fulfillment center to incorporate robotics, the company said.

The company has 50 robotics fulfillment centers out of 175 centers worldwide, Lighty said.

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Amazon employees celebrated their first day at the Charlotte robotics fulfillment center with appearances from city sports mascots Sir Purr and Hugo the Hornet. Courtesy of Amazon

Charlotte officials had hoped to draw Amazon’s second headquarters to the city, but didn’t make the shortlist announced in January 2018.

Amazon said it would split the second HQ between Arlington, Va., and New York’s Long Island City. But last February, the company announced it would pull out of the Long Island City move after local backlash, CNN reported.

The Amazon facility opening in Charlotte comes after criticism from workers and politicians of the company’s treatment of warehouse workers. A number of workers announced plans to strike over Prime Day in July, the company’s biggest shopping day of the year, according to Business Insider.

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Hannah Smoot covers business in Charlotte, focusing on aviation and health care. She previously covered money and power at The Rock Hill Herald in South Carolina. She is a lifelong North Carolinian and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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