Amazon’s Logistics Center Sparks ControversyBy Sofía Hanna | Tue, 09/14/2021 - 16:36
Amazon is under fire after photos of a new distribution center in Tijuana, Mexico, went viral. The 32,000m2 building located in El Cañón del Padre, a marginal neighborhood, sparked a controversy due to the contrast seen between a multinational company that generates millions of dollars in profits and the houses of those living in precarious conditions.
While social networks criticized the contrast, the Tijuana city council highlighted the benefits of installing the warehouse in that area arguing that it will reduce the cost and delivery times of products in areas such as Tijuana, Mexicali, Tecate, Ensenada and Rosarito Beaches. Amazon also assured that it is committed to the development of the country and the communities where it operates. “Since our arrival in Mexico, we have generated more than 15,000 jobs in the country and now we are adding 250 in Tijuana, creating job opportunities with competitive salaries and benefits for all our employees,” the company told BBC Mundo.
With this new warehouse, Amazon will complete its 11-distribution-centers goal in Mexico. Previously, MBN reported that Amazon would invest US$100 million to strengthen its logistics and delivery times in the country. Amazon has emphasized that its main objective is to generate direct and indirect jobs in the communities it operates in. Tijuana’s Municipal President, Karla Ruiz Macfarland, said that the distribution center will contribute to the economic reactivation and the well-being of the families in the area by generating new jobs.
Trade at the border has increased and with it, the need for more storage sites. Critics of the new warehouse point that working conditions are different on both sides of the Mexico-US border, especially when it comes to payments. While in the US, wages start at US$15 an hour, on the Mexican side, employees receive between US$2 and US$4 an hour, according to Spencer Potiker, a doctoral student at the University of California Irvine. A Reuters investigation published in April this year denounced that employees at an Amazon distribution center near Mexico City were forced to work more hours than those allowed by law, forced to resign, or fired after contracting COVID-19.