Amazon is closing a Seattle delivery support unit and moving an estimated 130 jobs to Phoenix, where the minimum wage is significantly less, the Seattle Times reported.
The unit, working out of the e-commerce company’s Seattle central operation center, routs drivers who deliver groceries and other items. According to the report, employees were informed earlier this year that their jobs were moving to Phoenix by the end of June.
“They just made this blanket announcement that everybody was getting laid off, but that they were going to try to find [other] jobs for everybody,” an employee told the Seattle Times.
Salaries at the dispatch center in Seattle start at around $15.45 an hour, while an identical role in Phoenix starts at $11.25 an hour, one employee told the Seattle Times.
In a statement to FOX Business regarding the move, an Amazon spokesperson said: “Amazon employs over 500,000 people worldwide, and we’re continuing to hire across the company. We are constantly evaluating headcount needs to ensure we’re dedicating resources efficiently and effectively, so it’s common for there to be minor fluctuations in headcount in different parts of the company. We work to support any colleagues who may be affected and try to find alternative roles at the company where possible.”
Another representative added that the relocation of the unit has nothing to do with the head tax, adding that the company is merely looking to expand its Arizona unit.
The move, however, comes less than two weeks after Seattle’s City Council passed a head tax on large employers aimed at funding affordable housing and homelessness services—a bill that Amazon and several other large employers in the area openly and strongly opposed.
“We are disappointed by today’s City Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs,” Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said in a statement after the council approved the tax earlier this month.
The new tax will cost the company about $275 per employee, per year.