The Crusader Newspaper Group

Amazon to open two new fulfillment centers in south suburbs  

By Patrick Forrest

Governor JB Pritzker, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Amazon announced the company will launch two new, state-of-the-art fulfillment centers in Matteson and Markham, creating more than 2,000 new, full time jobs.

These fulfillment centers in Markham and Matteson will be the first facilities located in Cook County to feature Amazon’s innovative robotics technology.

“We are excited to join the community and create more than 2,000 new, full-time jobs with industry-leading pay and benefits at our two newest fulfillment centers in the state,” said Mike Flannery, regional director of Amazon Operations. “This facility will utilize Amazon Robotics, with 24 years’ worth of technological innovations.”

The company had been very vocal and thankful for support garnered by local and state officials with the opening of the center.

“The Village of Matteson is thrilled to welcome Amazon to our town. As a global leader of the rapidly growing distribution industry, Amazon will now have access to our exceptional regional workforce, a very vibrant business climate and our continuing commitment to attract diverse forms of economic development,” said Matteson Village President Sheila Chalmers-Currin. “This particular project is clearly an economic engine that will attract hundreds of jobs to our town.”

The company launched its first fulfillment center in Illinois in 2015 and is now home to multiple fulfillment and sorting centers in Joliet, Aurora, Crest Hill, Edwardsville, Minooka, Monee, Romeoville, Waukegan, and Wood Dale.

“I’m thrilled that Amazon recognizes what a great place the south suburbs are to do business,” Congresswoman Robin Kelly said. “Amazon has been the most visible e-commerce investor in recent years, here and around the country. It now has at least 20 facilities in the greater Chicago area, counting those currently operating and those under construction.”

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ATTENDING THE PRESS conference announcing the new Amazon Fulfillment Center from left to right: Markham Mayor Roger Agpawa, State Senator Napoleon Harris, State Representative Michael Hastings, and Congresswoman Robin Kelly.

The incoming factory does cause some worry, with reports made throughout the state about COVID-19 cases.

According to a media count, at least 10 Amazon warehouse workers have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The deaths occurred among workers at warehouses in New York, Illinois, California, Indiana and Ohio.

Despite this fact, Gov. Pritzker has shown excitement for the potential jobs coming to the area, while acknowledging any potential risk in the immediate future.

“I’m excited to see Amazon increasing their presence here in Illinois and creating thousands of much-needed jobs for our residents,” he said.

With an unemployment rate above 15 percent, local officials continue to hope that companies like Amazon will bring much needed opportunities to economically disadvantaged areas.

“Amazon’s two new fulfillment centers in Matteson and Markham will serve as an economic engine for Cook County’s Southland,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “I am pleased to welcome these state-of-the-art facilities to Cook County and am grateful for the much-needed job opportunities it will bring to the region.”

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PHOTOGRAPHED AT THE press conference announcing the new Amazon Fulfillment Center from left to right: State Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin, School District 159 board member Carolyn Palmer, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller, and Reverend Andrew Singleton, Jr., of Victory Apostolic Church in Matteson and State Senator Napoleon Harris (second row).

In addition to concerns that have been risen over the course of the global pandemic, many corporations have stated plans to donate money in an attempt to address the large-scale protests that have captured the attention of the public.

Amazon has also committed to donate a total of $10 million to organizations that are working to bring about social justice and improve the lives of Black people. Recipients—selected with the help of Amazon’s Black Employee Network—include groups focused on combating systemic racism through the legal system, as well as those dedicated to expanding educational and economic opportunities for Black communities such as NAACP, Black Lives Matter and the United Negro College Fund.

“Amazon’s leadership and the Black Employee Network have worked hand-in-hand to identify organizations in the Black community that make a difference and will contribute to them in a meaningful way.

In addition to the organizations listed, we will work with our chapters to identify local groups to support,” said Angelina Howard, president of the Black Employee Network.

“We will continue these conversations about how Amazon can support employees and the entire Black community beyond these recent tragic events.”

Amazon employees make a $15 minimum wage, the company said, and full-time employees receive benefits, including full medical, vision and dental, as well as a 401(k) with a 50 percent company match.

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