Amazon unveils job tool for military spouse employees
Amazon military spouse employees will be able to continue their jobs elsewhere or start similar roles after relocating
EXCLUSIVE: Amazon on Thursday launched a new online tool that will allow its military spouse employees to keep their jobs after they move on military orders.
Project Juno is a new technology on Amazon's internal website that will help employees update their information, including new home locations and move-in timelines, so that workers can continue their jobs elsewhere or start similar roles in their new hometowns, according to the company.
Employees will check off a box on their employee portals that says, "I have military orders to move," and within 48 hours an Amazon representative will get back to them to sort out moving details so that they can keep their jobs at the company, Amazon military spouse employee Beth Conlin told FOX Business.
"And then from there, that military spouse is matched with either an identical role and title in their new location or something similar in their new location so that they don't have to have any gaps in employment and they can maintain their professional development as they move with the military," Conlin said.
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Conlin's husband is an active-duty Army officer. She took a job with Amazon as a senior program manager for the company’s military spouse program about a year and a half ago after working various jobs over the past five years to meet employer expectations. She has moved 11 times over the past eight years.
Conlin now works remotely for Amazon with the option of going into the office when she wants to and has become an advocate for Blue Star Families and military spouses searching for work.
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If an Amazon military spouse employee's role is not available at their new location, Amazon will work to match them with the position most similar to the one they worked prior to moving under Project Juno. Sydney Hoagland recently moved from South Carolina to North Carolina and kept her job as an area manager.
"At first, it was really intimidating because I didn’t feel like I had anyone to talk to that would understand what I was going through as a military spouse," Hoagland said in a statement. "But then I heard about Project Juno from other military spouses also working at Amazon. From there, they just asked when I needed to arrive in North Carolina and set up my transfer. I mean, it was truly as seamless as it could be."
Active military service members and their families move every two-and-a-half years, on average, according to the Defense Department.
Amazon employs more than 45,000 veterans and military spouses in 40 states across the U.S., and some of these workers have expressed concern with leaving their jobs at the company after moving, Amazon said.
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Costs of living will be taken into account when military spouse employees move to new locations so that salaries and benefits can be adjusted accordingly, though Conlin said this population of employees "should not experience any decrease" in salaries once they transfer or change positions within the company after they move.
"The salary and benefits will be commensurate with the new role that they're taking, so it's either going to be something similar to what it was before, or any adjustments will be made to the salary depending on the responsibilities of their new role," Conlin said. "But our goal is to keep our military spouses at the same level of responsibility."
She added that Project Juno, named after the Roman goddess of family and marriage, will help Amazon "keep and retain" the "really high skill" levels of its military spouse employees while simultaneously helping to decrease unemployment rates among military families.
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The tech giant's positive new tool comes amid worker efforts to unionize in New York and Alabama as employees demand higher pay and better conditions amid the pandemic.
The Amazon Labor Union (ALU), which has been organizing over the past six months at the e-commerce giant's JFK8 facility in Staten Island and surrounding LDJ5, DYY6, and DYX2 facilities, has grown to approximately 2,000 workers.
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According to the ALU's website, the organizing effort started following the termination of former Amazon process assistant Chris Smalls, who organized a walkout at JFK8 to protest unsafe working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. On Sunday, the ALU's workers committee democratically ratified its constitution and elected Smalls as the union's president.
Smalls told FOX Business that ALU is demanding everything from higher wages, more paid time off and longer breaks to safer working conditions and better paid medical leave options.