- Viral photos show a massive new Amazon facility in Mexico surrounded by decrepit homes.
- Amazon said it will create 250 jobs, but research shows new centers don’t always boost overall employment.
- Amazon began its push into the Mexican market in 2015 to compete with Walmart in the e-commerce race.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A sprawling, new Amazon fulfillment center in Tijuana, Mexico, is surrounded by deteriorating low-income housing units as the tech giant continues its push into the foreign market.
Photos of the new warehouse were captured by photographer Omar Martinez and show a stark contrast between Amazon’s crisp, white facility and the crumbling shacks around it. They were shared widely and discussed on Reddit and Twitter.
Martinez shared the exact location of the warehouse with Insider – it sits about three miles south of the US-Mexico border.
Amazon spokesperson Marisa Vano confirmed to Insider that “the upcoming opening of our Fulfillment Center in Tijuana” will create “more than 250 jobs in the area.”
Pay at Amazon’s US warehouses starts at $US15 ($AU20) an hour, and the company regularly touts what it says are competitive health insurance and retirement benefits at its centers, such as at the Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse where employees voted not to unionize earlier this year.
But for some areas with new warehouses – such as in Davenport, Illinois – economists say that Amazon’s competitive wages may force local retailers to match that pay, which could lower employment rates since it limits how many people they can employ, according to the Quad-City Times. The economists also said that jobs need to be high-paying for communities to see long-term economic growth.
And a report from the Economic Policy Institute in 2018 found that while there’s a 30% increase in jobs, there isn’t always an overall increase in employment in areas where a new Amazon warehouse goes up. The report suggests “that some sort of employment displacement is taking place, or that the growth in warehousing jobs is too limited to spill over into broad-based employment gains for the overall local economy.”
The Economist similarly found that Amazon often pays its fulfillment center workers less than other employers do.
Amazon waded into the Mexican marketplace in 2015, a move that would help the company compete with fellow e-commerce giant Walmart. Amazon now has five fulfillment centers in the country, and Vano told Insider that the company has since created 15,000 jobs throughout Mexico.
Amazon announced last year that it was spending $US100 ($AU134) million on new warehouses in Mexico to improve delivery speeds. Two fulfillment centers will go up in Monterrey and in Guadalajara, which are two of the largest metro areas in Mexico, and the company will have at least 27 delivery stations scattered across the country.
Mexico state Governor Alfredo Del Mazo Maza said Amazon’s expansion will help counteract pandemic-driven economic fallout in the country, according to Mexico News Daily.
“Amazon has become one of the principal allies and a strategic partner in the economic recovery and the fulfillment of objectives that have been laid out by the current administration to improve the level of well-being of Mexican families,” the governor said.