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Old 11-12-2012, 09:34 AM   #1
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Location: Yuma (winter)
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We're part of the "Amazon Army"

We're working for Amazon in Fernley Nevada for the first time as we wanted to recoupe some of our travel costs from summer wanderings. This is how it works. We were recuted in Quartsite at the RV show in Jan '12. We were offered any of the three locactions that do the "Camper Force" deal, Fernley, Coffeville, KS or Cambellsville(sp?), KY. We chose Fernley (Reno), NV so we could visit our daughter in CA at Christmas. We were supposed to start on Oct 7 and work thru Dec 23, but we were called and asked if we could start in late Sept. That was agreeable since I'd never been to the Reno Air Races we got here mid Sept. It's 4-10 schedule, 40 hrs week. Amazon pays an hourly wage of $11.50 hr(in Fernley), and pays for your RV rental space (you pay your own electric) There is overtime available on a volun basis and then mandatory OT during "peak", from black Friday on. They also pay a bonus if you make to the finish line in Dec. You get a 10% discount on product while you're an employee. There are two RV parks in Fernley, one in Sparks, and the fourth I'm not sure, maybe Fallon, but anyway the two Fernley locations are close to Amazon, the others are a commute of about 19 mi +. Now for the work itself. There are several job classifications and both day and night shifts offered. The main four Camperforce work classifications are "Recieving", "Stowing", and "Picking", and "Water Spider", although you do get moved to other jobs depending on Amazon's needs...more on that in a minute. "Recieving" involves standing in one place and lifiting boxes, some bending. "Stowing" involves a lot of swift walking ....approx 6-8 miles of walking per day, bending, pushing carts, some lifting, and kneeling. "Picking" requres A LOT of FAST walking, 10-15 miles a day, lifting, bending, kneeling. "Water Spider" involves A LOT of walking, 10-15 milles+ per day, and some bending. Other jobs that you might get put on as need arises are "Shipping", "Prep" (product preparation) "PIT" (forklift) driving, "ICQA", ( inventory), or up in "CRISPPLANT", (conveyor stuff). I won't lie to you, it's very physical work...not like digging a ditch or doing concrete, but a LOT OF WALKING, lifting, bending, kneeling, and stacking. The first two weeks are brutal getting yourself in shape and using muscles you havn't used in some time, and trying to remember everything they are teaching you. Some folks bail out by then, but if you can hang, it does get easier and though it sometimes is a bit monotenous, it's intersesting. The size, scope, and speed of the operation is mind boggling. It's ALL about the customer getting their product quickly and in good shape. Safety on the floor is a BIGGIE, and security is VERY tight... You cannot take cellphones or anything that Amazon sells onto the factory floor, though these items are allowed in the breakroom. Your production is tracked closely. You get two 15 min breaks and a 30 min lunch. It's hard work and not for everyone, but we like it (now...not at first) and we'll probably come back next year. Oh yeah, drug testing and background info is required also. It's quite the....adventure.
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:47 PM   #2
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We just found out about this and have been reading up on it.......your post is great info. We are seriously thinking about it for, maybe, next year........sounds like if you get in shape with a lot of walking ahead of time it might not be too bad?
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:30 AM   #3
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We walk regularly two miles a day, but the first two weeks were still tough. It takes about 10 -15 days to get yourself in shape. If you can make it for two weeks you'll prob last the season. If you have trouble walking or negot stairs, you might want to try to get into "Recieving", as it's mostly standing and lifting. If you want to get into shape, then "Stowing", or "Picking" is what you want, but "Picking" is by far the toughest to do from a walking stand point. I'veldropped one pants size (15 lbs) in 5 weeks "Stowing". Let me know if you want any other info. :>)
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:54 PM   #4
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Sounds like a great opportunity. Do they expect two people to work in order to get the camping paid? Also are you considered a contract employee and thus have to pay self=employment tax (i.e. employer pays no social security component)? How is the weather in that part of Nevada during this time? I am considering this for next year. Thanks for your insight into becoming an Amazonian.
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