For Blue-Collar Workers, Amazon Warehouses Are the New Factories

A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 17 2013 4:20 PM

Amazon Warehouses Are the New Factories

An Amazon fulfillment center in Peterborough, England

Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

When Milwaukee was first colonized in the late 1600s, it became a fur-trading post for the French and Native Americans. After the Industrial Revolution and through the late 19th century, Milwaukee became a bustling port city and a hub for work at shipyards, steel mills, meatpacking plants, tanneries, and, of course, breweries.

But, like many former U.S. industrial hubs, Milwaukee has lost much of its clout to globalization and outsourcing. Since 1990, the Milwaukee area has lost more than 41,000 manufacturing jobs:


Bureau of Labor Statistics

But Amazon's remorseless quest for global domination is bringing a different kind of blue-collar work to the region. In October, Amazon announced it will open a 1-million-square-foot distribution center in Kenosha, which is just south of Milwaukee and 60 miles north of Chicago. On Tuesday, Amazon announced it will be opening a second, 500,000-square-foot center in Kenosha. With the help of more than $24 million in state and local tax credits, the company hopes to have the first center up and running by 2015, bringing in 1,100 jobs. The second center would bring in an additional 575 jobs.


Of course, the jobs won't all entail manual labor:

Kenosha Mayor Keith Bosman said in October average wage will be just over $13 an hour for around 850 employees at the first distribution center. 
The remaining employees will include technicians, computer programmers and managers, earning annual salaries ranging from around $50,000 to $250,000, Bosman said then.

This is great news for blue-collar workers in the area, and unlike the factory work of yore, it's not likely to move to China. Amazon prides itself on quick delivery, and one method for that speediness (besides drone delivery) is having warehouses scattered throughout the United States. Kenosha's proximity to the largest metro area in the Midwest is ideal, and it sorely needs the economic revitalization.


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.