Amazon.com Inc. offers Seattle-based employees a choice of smaller offices outside the city, suggesting that the Covid-19 outbreak and a new local employer tax have driven the e-commerce giant to consider alternatives to its hometown.
In a statement to employees Thursday, Amazon asked which communities near Seattle – including Tacoma and Redmond, Washington – they would prefer. The title of the message, which was shared on Reddit and later deleted, was “Options for Office Workstations.” Amazon declined to comment.
Amazon, which reported a total global workforce of nearly 877,000 as of June 30, has expanded beyond Seattle for several years. It is building a second major office center in suburban Virginia near the nation̵
The company has threatened to focus on employment development outside of Seattle due to a rocky relationship with city officials and new taxes on large employers. The announcement suggests that Amazon may shrink its presence in its hometown, where it employs about 50,000 people in a mix of offices it owns and rents out. In 2019, it announced that it would move its worldwide operations department, which oversees Amazon’s shipping and logistics, to nearby Bellevue, where it currently employs 3,000 people.
Even before the pandemic, Amazon was considering building more satellite offices outside the city, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company plans to expand its Bellevue offices, as it has had since 2017. Such locations are seen as a convenience for employees who get tired of commuting to Seattle and as a way to reduce the company’s exposure to city taxes aimed at large employers, he said. the person, who asked not to be identified and discussed private matters.
Two years ago, Amazon helped defeat an effort in Seattle to raise money for homeless services and affordable housing by levying a tax per employee on large corporations. The “main tax” would have raised about $ 47 million a year.
The political climate has since shifted towards the company after Amazon’s large expenses for an election in Seattle City Council resurfaced last year. In July, the council approved a new fee that taxes large corporations on employees earning at least $ 150,000 a year. The tax is expected to raise more than $ 200 million a year and cost Amazon even more than the previous proposal.
– With the help of Matt Day