Amazon is known for its heavy use of gig workers, but it’s reversing that calculus a bit of late, according to a letter to contractors seen by CNBC. The company has offered Whole Foods jobs to a number of its grocery “shoppers,” who pick products from shelves to help fulfill delivery orders.
“To help continue to offer the best experience for our team and customers, we are transitioning online grocery-fulfillment operations currently operated by Amazon to Whole Foods Market by the end of the year,” the letter reads. “This transition will happen slowly for the majority of stores.” A spokesperson confirmed to CNBC that shoppers would become Whole Foods employees by the end of 2022.
The jobs don’t offer the benefits seen by Amazon’s warehouse employees or full-time Whole Foods employees, like medical benefits and 401K contributions. In fact, workers would appear to get longer shifts, less flexibility, and keep their existing status levels and pay rates — but there would be some opportunities for promotion, according to a job listing.
Amazon said that it’s aiming to “create a more unified team culture,” with the changes. It is promising flexibility, but schedules would be made up to three weeks in advance and cover two-week periods. By contrast, gig shoppers can currently work “as little as four hours per week” and have “shift flexibility,” according to a recent job posting.
Amazon recently announced that it was closing all of its bookstores, pop-up shops and 4-star stores in a shift in its retail strategy. It’s not clear why it’s shifting shopper contractors to Whole Foods employment, but not all workers are happy. “This is supposed to be a side gig for a lot of people,” a gig worker told CNBC in an email. “If there are changes in terms of shift scheduling/length, I can easily see a lot of people leaving.”