We have finished up our first week as Pickers at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Jeffersonville, Indiana. This is our 3rd year as part of the Camperforce team with Amazon. After 2 years at the Campbellsville, Kentucky center, we decided to work in Indiana this year.
Last November, we were a part of 98 Camperforce employees that transferred to Jeffersonville, to help out with their peak season (from Thanksgiving to Christmas). We enjoyed our time there, so when they decided to add this location as part of their Camperforce location, we applied here. You can read about last years events here.
This year Amazon again offered four locations for their Camperforce program. That is what they call their work campers that they hire. Campbellsville and Murfeesboro, TN were the returning centers. New this year is Jeffersonville, and Haslet, TX. We briefly considered going to the Texas location, but then we found out that facility uses the robots. With the robots, you stand in one area, and the robot brings the pod containing the merchandise to you. Then you pick the item you need, and the next bin is brought to you. We did not want a stationary job, so we ruled out going to Texas. We enjoy the freedom you have with picking, along with all the exercise. We often refer to Amazon as our 12 week fitness plan. They are paying us to exercise!
Amazon has standardized their pay for Camperforce. It is $10.75/hour at all facilities. You can earn $1.00/hour completion bonus for every hour that you work, if you make it to your release date (no later than 12/23). In addition, Amazon pays for your full hook-up campsite, including electricity. The campsites vary as far as amenities.
Amazon has four 10 hour days, and there will be both voluntary and mandatory overtime, which is paid at time and a half. The mandatory overtime usually comes in November and December. Another reason we choose Jeffersonville, is the possibility of a lot of overtime, due to the tremendous growth in the apparel business.
Types of Jobs
I have previously written about the various jobs, so I won’t go into too much detail. If you are interested in learning more about Amazon, type in the word Amazon in the search box on our website, and it should bring up all the prior posts that I have done.
Amazon has two basic types of jobs: mobile and stationary. The mobile jobs are Picking (using a hand-held scanner to identify the location and product, you pick the item and place it in a tote). Stowing is also a mobile job, and you take a cart full of merchandise and place it on the shelves.
The stationary jobs are Receiving (unloading trucks) and Packing (putting the merchandise in boxes for shipping).
Jeffersonville specializes in apparel, shoes, jewelry and watches. Apparel is the fastest growing segment of Amazon’s business. This center was opened in 2012, and the business continues to grow. They are expecting orders to be up 30% over last year. We have noticed there is more merchandise already than last December when we arrived.
We wanted to work here this year, because Picking is easier than Campbellsville. You do not get bumped around to different buildings and different floors. The place is so big, that you can work on one floor most of the day. And clothing is easier to pick than some of the big, bulky heavy items that Campbellsville currently carries.
Campbellsville is in the process of remodeling over the next several years, and will eventually be mostly apparel as well.
Our first week consisted of one eight-hour day with orientation, paperwork and safety school. The next four days were only 5 hours, and involved working in the picking department. They refer to this as “work hardening”, and it really helps us get used to all the walking. This year Amazon is allowing employees to wear Fitbit’s and other wearable exercise tracking devices. So I will be keeping track of my steps again this year.
Week two consists of the four 10 hour days. We were happy when they announced voluntary overtime, and we signed up for it. Camperforce employees are only required to do overtime when it is mandatory, so only a handful of us signed up this week. Nothing like going right into 50 hour work weeks!
On our two days off, after running a lot of errands, we did go down to the riverfront and walk over from Indiana to Louisville, KY on the Big Four Bridge. Originally, this was built as a railroad bridge across the Ohio river, it was abandoned in 1969, and was redone into a pedestrian/bicycle bridge in 2013.
In addition, we got together with several of our fellow Camperforce workers for a nice dinner at Boombozz pizza in Jeffersonville. You don’t have much time for socializing at work, so it was nice to get together with our fellow workers. We are going to try to do a weekly get together, as we are all working the same shift in Jeffersonville.
Only 11 more weeks to go….but who’s counting? (I am!)
Quote for the day: “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” – Jimmy Johnson