For Some, Need for Work Trumps Politics of Amazon Deal

When state lawmakers reconvene next year, they’ll have to weigh in on the recent deal with Amazon dot com, brokered under Governor Bill Haslam. The idea is to let the giant internet retailer put off state sales tax collections in exchange for creating jobs. For some people watching, the politics of the deal have been less pressing than the need to find work.

The deal would have Amazon create more than three thousand permanent jobs in Tennessee on top of seasonal hires, while putting off sales tax collections until 2014. Competing stores complain that exemption gives Amazon an unfair advantage which is bad for their business.

Michael Fousse (“Foose”) is an experienced computer technician out of a job almost two years. Fousse stood in a line of hundreds to apply for temporary work in an Amazon warehouse. He says he gets why brick-and-mortar stores are annoyed; he’s also applied at lots of them.

“But realistically this is also brick-and-mortar because the position isn’t in cyberspace, to put it bluntly. Obviously there’s an actual building, there’s a facility… A position is a position. Amazon is a good company; it doesn’t seem to be going away in the near future.”

Nearly three thousand people applied last week in Lebanon for some two thousand seasonal jobs with Amazon. Those jobs end in a couple months when the holidays wrap up. Not long after that, state lawmakers will return to the capitol, where they’ll vote on Amazon’s jobs deal.

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