Fernley, Nevada is the site of one of Amazon's giant warehouses, and every year they hire thousands of temporary workers for the Christmas rush. It is a new kind of work, much like the migrant workers who follow the crops. Instead, in this case most are retirees in recreational vehicles. According to Stu Woo in the Wall Street Journal,
Many of these employees belong to the community of "workampers," a sort of modern-day migrant worker. Many of them are retirees who spend all or part of the year living in RVs and taking odd seasonal jobs around the country. While some workers really need the money, others said they take the gigs to help fund their adventures or just for fun.
It is part of a special program by amazon:
Amazon said it hires RV residents for the autumn in three locations, Fernley, Campbellsville and Coffeyville, Kan., as part of a program called CamperForce, which started last year. Current and former seasonal workers said Amazon lets them choose from several RV camps where the retailer will pay the parking fee for the seasonal workers.
More at the Wall Street Journal.
Over at the Amazon website, one finds a page devoted to Camperforce, where they write about the program.
Amazon is looking for hundreds of flexible and enthusiastic RVers with positive, can-do attitudes to join us during the 2010 peak holiday season. If you enjoy living in the outdoors and work well in a fast paced environment, come join us between October and December at our fulfillment centers in Coffeyville, Kansas; Fernley, Nevada; and Campbellsville, Kentucky!
But they warn that it is a tough job.
You will be on your feet for most of a 10 – 12 hour shift per day. You will lift, bend, stoop and squat repetitively. Ability to read hand-held scanner and climbing stairs up to 30% of the time is necessary.
The workplace is changing in so many ways; in most communities, bookstores used to be a great place to get a job helping out in the Christmas season. Now the community follows the bookstore, the migrant workers of the electronic age.