Amazon shuttering Seattle delivery support team, sending jobs to Arizona

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with comments from Amazon

Amazon is cutting a team in Seattle that supports its contractor delivery drivers and other personnel and moving the jobs to Phoenix.

The Seattle Times reports the operations center in the company’s South Lake Union headquarters employs about 130 people who direct and route drivers delivering goods and staff packing them through Prime Now, AmazonFresh, Amazon Restaurants and other programs across the Western U.S. An Amazon spokeswoman told GeekWire that the company is working with the folks impacted by the move to help them find other jobs, either in Phoenix, Seattle or elsewhere.

The main impetus for the move, the company says, is to put the team in the same place as groups from other parts of the company that handle similar operations, such as Whole Foods deliveries. The Arizona space also provides more room to grow those teams.

Amazon released the following statement regarding the relocation of the operations team:

“Amazon employs over 500,000 people worldwide, and we’re continuing to hire across the company. We are constantly evaluating headcount needs to ensure we’re dedicating resources efficiently and effectively, so it’s common for there to be minor fluctuations in headcount in different parts of the company. We work to support any colleagues who may be affected and try to find alternative roles at the company where possible.”

The move comes as Amazon’s relationship with its hometown continues to fray following the recent passage of a controversial tax on big businesses, though the company insists the relocation has nothing to do with the so-called head tax. Amazon paused construction on one of its office towers as the debate raged, and though it has resumed work, Amazon said the tax has forced the company to question its future growth in Seattle. Amazon continues to fight the tax, donating to a campaign to repeal it.

Earlier this year, Amazon cut about 500 jobs as part of adjustments in its core consumer retail business. Those impacted were offered other positions inside the company. Last quarter, Amazon’s headcount dipped by about 2,900 people, its first sequential quarterly decline in employment since early 2009.

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