‘Good neighbours’: Amazon’s package delivery plant becomes Lycoming County’s largest employer | News, Sports, Jobs

KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Worker John Middlebrooke prepares a package for delivery at the Amazon delivery station in Montgomery on Thursday.

MONTGOMERY — There’s a lot of activity inside Amazon, the first of the global company’s delivery facilities in Lycoming County.

This is a historic moment for the region as an industry giant has started employing a local workforce with 150-200 jobs and a target of up to 300.

Associates who start working on day one for $17 an hour get the same benefits, such as health care, as management. It’s a draw for those looking for a job, especially in a job market trying to rebound economically from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inside a spacious, converted warehouse at 776 Saegers Station Road, associates were seen Thursday unloading, labeling, sorting and delivering packages bound for Williamsport, Liberty, Lock Haven and Selinsgrove .

Members of the media were treated to a guided tour by Amazon management.

The facility technically opened on May 12 and has been operational for just over three months, said Ron Boatswain, Amazon’s chief operating officer.

This is the newest Amazon delivery station and the first Amazon facility in the region. More than forty Amazon facilities now exist in Pennsylvania.

From semi-trailers to homes and businesses

“We’re thrilled to be in the area and it’s great for us to have roots in rural parts of the state and country,” Amazon spokesman Sam Fisher said before alerting tour participants to wear rubber-soled shoe covers and a yellow vest.

The team was happy to explain how a package enters the vans.

It starts here at one of the six dock gates, where semi-trailers backed up and freight with packages was unloaded onto pallets and placed on the rolling steel conveyor line.

At this point, on the roller conveyor line, packages were scanned by someone with a hand-held device that allowed sorters to know the destination and the name of the customer.

The packages continued their journey as the conveyor wound its way to the sorting area. Various associates worked in different locations.

Packages and bags were stored in carts to be loaded by the driver who stopped at the rear of the facility to marked locations for vans or private vehicles. This is called the launch pad area.

The launch pad area has a roof so drivers and packages stay dry no matter the weather.

Drivers also wear a device that gives them instructions on what and where the packages are in the cart area.

Drivers are notified if packages weigh 35 pounds or more, said Brandi Brackley, manager of Amazon’s multi-station office.

Whenever a package arrives with damaged items, Amazon has a dedicated fulfillment center team to ensure customer service and satisfaction. Items will either be replaced or returned for refund.

Inside, there is no noisy machinery where associates have to wear earplugs, and there is no smoke or dust. The interior is air-conditioned and comfortable for associates and merchandise. Near the dock doors, there is a miniature basketball game where employees on break can relax and unwind.

Shifts start at 2:30 a.m. and van drivers typically arrive at 8:40 a.m. Amazon offers what’s called flexible deliveries, which allow workers to earn extra income. Deliveries are also made for two private companies not affiliated with Amazon on the site. On a typical shift, 20-30 associates may be working.

Amazon’s factory is hiring, primarily for associates who process packages.

The 2:30 shift is the first shift, but associates can choose the shift that works best for them. And associates can change shifts or schedule them daily to suit their needs.

Shifts are typically four and a half hours, although they can be split and the associate can work twice as long, Fisher said.

The next closest Amazon delivery center is in Hazleton. As expected, the peak period for business runs from November to mid-January.

Global company with local roots

Although Amazon has a global reach and has invested $17 billion in infrastructure and operations, it depends on the regional workforce to keep it humming.

“We are really excited to be able to provide these jobs and deliver packages to customers from our Lycoming County location,” said Fisher.

While Amazon is certainly a global company, it settles with facilities that have local roots. His associates are families, friends and neighbours.

“Amazon employees want to donate their time and volunteer in local causes and enjoy themselves in the community as good neighbours,” said Fisher.

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