Amazon to Close Warehouse Near Seattle, Offering New Roles to Affected Employees

(GeekWire File Photo)

Amazon is closing a warehouse in Tukwila, Wash., just south of Seattle.

The company confirmed the closure after we spotted a new filing with the state Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) system, noting a layoff of 172 employees at the facility, known as UWA5.

Amazon spokesperson Sam Stephenson said employees will be offered opportunities to transfer to other facilities nearby, or “support if they choose not to stay with Amazon.”

“We’re always evaluating our network to make sure it fits our business needs and to improve the experience for our employees, customers, partners, and drivers,” Stephenson said in a statement. “As part of that effort, we may close older sites, enhance existing facilities, or open new sites, and we weigh a variety of factors when deciding where to develop future sites or maintain a presence.”

Amazon employs 75,000 people in the Seattle region, many of them corporate and tech workers, as part of its workforce of 1.52 million people around the world. Global headcount rose 4% year-over-year, as of March 31.

On a call with reporters last month following the company’s first quarter earnings release, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said the year-over-year growth in headcount was mainly driven by its warehouse-related operations.

Amazon last month announced that it set new records for Prime delivery speeds in the first three months of this year, touting a shift to regional fulfilment centers.

“In short, we divided the country into smaller, easier-to-reach regions,” Amazon exec Doug Herrington wrote in a blog post last year. “Previously, we fulfilled orders from any of our operational sites across the country. Now we have eight interconnected regions serving smaller geographic areas.”

Herrington also said at the time that Amazon had plans to double the number of its smaller Same-Day Delivery facilities in the coming years.

Amazon laid off 27,000 corporate workers last year. Warehouse jobs were not affected as part of those cuts.

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