From the Chattanooga Times-Free Press, the text of President Obama’s speech at a large Amazon warehouse yesterday:
Hello, Chattanooga! It is good to be back in Tennessee. It’s great to be here at Amazon.
. . . .
So this is something here. I just finished getting a tour of just one little corner of this massive facility — size of 28 football fields. Last year, during the busiest day of the Christmas rush, customers around the world ordered more than 300 items from Amazon every second, and a lot of those traveled through this building. So this is kind of like the North Pole of the south right here. Got a bunch of good-looking elves here.
. . . .
Jobs are about more than just paying the bills. Jobs are about more than just statistics. We’ve never just defined having a job as having a paycheck here in America. A job is a source of pride, is a source of dignity. It’s the way you look after your family. It’s proof that you’re doing the right things and meeting your responsibilities and contributing to the fabric of your community and helping to build the country. That’s what a job is all about. It’s not just about a paycheck. It’s not just about paying the bills. It’s also about knowing that what you’re doing is important, that it counts.
. . . .
Amazon is a great example of what’s possible. What you’re doing here at Amazon with your Career Choice Program pays 95 percent of the tuition for employees who want to earn skills in fields with high demand — not just, by the way, jobs here at Amazon, but jobs anywhere — computer-aided design or nursing. I talked to Jeff Bezos yesterday, and he was so proud of the fact that he wants to see every employee at Amazon continually upgrade their skills and improve. And if they’ve got a dream they want to pursue, Amazon wants to help them pursue it.
Link to the rest at Times-Free Press
Croissants have been violently smashed against walls all over Manhattan this morning.
If overseas visitors have never witnessed an American political speech, the text will provide an example of the genre.
In its report on the Obama speech, the New York Times said:
The choice of Amazon was meant to illustrate Mr. Obama’s theme of a job revival in America. The company recently announced plans to hire 5,000 more workers at 17 fulfillment centers, where it packs and ships customer orders. But the White House came under fire because many Amazon jobs pay only $11 an hour, and the pace of the work in these warehouses has been described as exhausting.
On his tour of the plant, Mr. Obama stopped at stations where workers were sorting and packing bottles of Metamucil and bags of pistachio nuts. “I’ve got a bunch of orders in there,” the president said, gesturing to a bin filled with boxes.
Mr. Obama’s appearance here also raised the hackles of independent booksellers, who blame Amazon, with its deep discounting and massive selection, for putting bookstores out of business.
Link to the rest at New York Times
For clarification, $11 per hour is the starting salary at Amazon. Raises happen as the employee gains more experience.
PG would bet a bag of croissants that the starting salary at Barnes & Noble or a typical independent bookstore in Chattanooga is very close to minimum wage – $7.25 – and that it takes quite a while before it rises to $11 per hour.
PG will allow former Barnes & Noble employees to comment about whether they were reimbursed for 95% of tuition fees or received any shares of stock in addition to their salaries.