Amazon has announced plans to open two new “state-of-the-art” robotic fulfilment centres in Ohio creating over 2500 jobs in the region.
The two 700,000sq ft hi-tech warehouses will bring the number of employees in the state to 8500, with an estimated 19,000 indirect jobs expected to have been created thanks to its growing presence across Ohio.
Notably its Akron fulfilment centre will sit on the site of the long-shuttered Rolling Acres Mall, which has become a symbol for the country’s retail apocalypse after being abandoned by retailers in 2013 and eventually demolished in 2016.
Like Amazon’s other fulfilment centres its two new sites will blend human employees with its burgeoning army of robotic workers.
Currently its robots are employed in warehouses to handle general merchandise, but are not yet able to handle softer items like fresh food for its Amazon Pantry arm.
This comes amid continuing unrest among Amazon’s global workforce, with fulfilment centre workers across the globe holding demonstrations last week to coincide with Amazon Prime Day in a protest against working conditions and pay.
Amazon has been keen to point out that it pays its workers more than double the US federal minimum wage at $15 per hour, having raised its wages in 2018.
In a corporate blog last week Amazon’s VP of global corporate affairs Jay Carney reiterated calls for the federal minimum wage to be raised to match its own, stating it would “significantly improve the lives of millions of American workers.”