I write in reference to the Aug. 5 Press Herald editorial, headlined “Our View: Amazon warehouse would be no prize” (Page A4).


Tahsha Sydnor sorts packages at an Amazon warehouse facility in Goodyear, Ariz., on Dec. 17, 2019. Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press,File

I concur with the Editorial Board in condemning the employment practices they attribute to Amazon, although the editorial provides no verification of the prevalence of these practices today. More importantly, the conclusion that follows the Editorial Board’s observation about these employment practices, i.e., that a new Amazon warehouse in Scarborough “would be no prize” misses important points, that if considered, might lead to a different conclusion.

First, no one would be required to take a job at an Amazon warehouse in Scarborough, and if such a job is taken, the employee is under no compulsion to stay. Amazon, unlike the American military, does not have a draft.

It follows from this that anyone who takes a job at an Amazon Scarborough warehouse, and who chooses to remain employed, does so because the Amazon employment is better than other options that are available to that individual. This is a particularly important consideration in the Scarborough area. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an unemployment rate in the Portland area of 2.5 percent, well below the national average. Employers must compete for employees.

Thus, if Amazon builds a Scarborough warehouse, it will need to compete for employees to staff the warehouse in a tight labor market, by offering competitive wages, benefits and working conditions – offers that would be taken, if at all, by choice, not compulsion.

This would seem to be a “prize” for the community.

George J. Marcus
Cumberland Foreside

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