Amazon's Coffeyville center using seasonal workers from Tulsa

Wednesday, December 7th 2005, 12:40 pm
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ has been busing workers from Tulsa to its shipping center in Coffeyville, Kan., to fulfill the Internet retailer's voracious demand for seasonal employees.

The company needs 1,000 seasonal workers during the holiday season.

A chartered bus takes the workers on the 90-minute, 75-mile trip from Tulsa to Coffeyville.

``It's a nice chartered bus with a television and VCR so they can watch movies, things like that,'' said Lisa Brown, director of operations for Chicago-based Staff Management. contracted with Staff Management to hire the temporary workers it needs to ship the vast quantities of books, electronics, toys and other merchandise bought by online shoppers during the Christmas retailing season.

The 45 long-distance commuters from Tulsa arrive at the 1-million-square-foot ``fulfillment center'' well before their 5 p.m. shift begins, Brown said.

Staff Management also buses almost three times as many temporary workers to Coffeyville from Joplin, Mo., each day. Joplin is 67 miles to the east.

``We are busing about 140 people from Joplin,'' Brown said. ``And I believe we do have some who are driving on their own.'' opened the Coffeyville fulfillment center in a former Golden Books distribution center in 1999, said Doris Scism with the Coffeyville Chamber of Commerce. The center was expanded from an original 450,000 square feet to the current 1 million, she said. The Coffeyville center employs about 500 full-time workers, in addition to the temporary employees.

Starting pay for employees at the center is $9.50 per hour for day-shift workers and $10 per hour for nights and part-time positions on weekends.

This is the second year that bus transportation has been provided for the temporary workers, Brown said. The Tulsa bus begins its return trip into Oklahoma after the night shift ends at 1:30 a.m., and arrives back in town about 3 AM.