For 21 years, Edgar Rodriguez has worked as the doorman at 115 Central Park West, a job requiring subtle courtesy and dapper dress. But in the last decade, his duties have been wholly upended.
- Once a summoner of taxis, watcher of small children, and keen vetter of visitors, Rodriguez now mostly spends his time on a single task — managing the safekeeping of a daily avalanche of Amazon deliveries, writes Axios' Erica Pandey.
Why it matters: The rise of Amazon has shaken up the U.S. and global economy. But it's done so in sometimes odd ways, all but killing some centuries-old trades, like bookselling, while giving others — like the doorman — surprising second lives.
The big picture: The Amazon effect on jobs has been two-sided. The e-commerce giant has added nearly 600,000 jobs in the U.S. alone, but a whopping 12 million retail jobs are in jeopardy because of its rapid ascent, per government data quoted by MarketWatch.
- Amazon has also faced sharp criticism for the wages and working conditions of its tens of thousands of warehouse employees and truckers.
And those are just the employees on Amazon's payroll. The company is unleashing tectonic shifts across the working world.
- Amazon has transformed the job of retail sales clerk. Thrown out of work by the shrinkage of Sears, Macy's, J.C. Penney and other retailers, thousands of salespeople have found jobs at Amazon and other e-commerce warehouses.
- It has changed the job of shipper, who in the old days sent a truckload or two of inventory to a store once a week. Amazon Prime has made buyers expect their purchases delivered to their home — now.
- The e-commerce giant has also been part of a wholesale change in retirement. Thousands of financially strapped older Americans have become a transient workforce that travels the country, laboring a few weeks or months in one Amazon warehouse, a few weeks in another, and so on.
As Amazon grows larger and larger, "we don't quite know what the consequences are going to be, and it's going to touch things that we don't predict," said Joe Parilla of Brookings. "It's changing these corners of the labor market."
On a typical day, Rodriguez's 215-unit building, employing a team of 10 doormen and a mail clerk, receives 160 packages.
- In the month between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve, that jumps to 300 per day, he said. "It's really, really out of control."
- The building put custom technology in place to scan and record the flood of packages. Before, the doormen used to write out serial numbers by hand in a log book. "That alone took three hours."
Across New York, doormen juggle deliveries that pile up astoundingly high.
- On the Upper East Side, at 72nd Street and 2nd Avenue, the 855-unit Wellesley apartment building had to hire two doormen specifically to direct a never-ending stream of delivery guys.
- Waddit Cruz has been at 25 East 68th Street, a much smaller building of 75 units, for 10 years. He said he has to deal with some 60 packages a day.
- As Erica was talking to Ian Vasquez, a doorman at 170 Amsterdam Avenue, he scanned the 100th package of the day — at 3:30 pm. "Some of the carriers haven't come yet," he said.