As labor lawsuit looms, Amazon announces new regional air hub in Lakeland

The Lakeland hub will sprawl out over 47 acres of airport property, with a projected workforce of around 1,000 people (and robots too).

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As labor lawsuit looms, Amazon announces new regional air hub in Lakeland
Photo courtesy Amazon/Facebook

Amazon's presence in Central Florida is expanding with the announcement of a new air hub in Lakeland to open this summer, and the company is adding 12 more planes to their fleet.

Coincidentally, this is on the same week that a lawsuit was filed by Amazon warehouse workers alleging that the corporate behemoth has not done enough to protect employees and their families amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Amazon will operate this new Regional Air Hub in Central Florida out of Lakeland's Linder International Airport, and with the leasing of the new cargo planes, now boasts a fleet of 80 aircraft.

The Lakeland hub will sprawl out over 47 acres of airport property, with a projected workforce of around 1,000 people (and robots too). Small businesses may be suffering during the pandemic, but not Amazon.

The lawsuit, on the other hand, brings to a head complaints and reports that Amazon has not been offering its workers enough protection as essential workers in this ongoing pandemic.

Filed in federal court on Wednesday, the lawsuit brought by three Amazon employees contends that Amazon failed to protect workers at a New York facility from contracting the coronavirus. Inadequate leave time, inadequate safety standards, and a corporate culture more concerned with quick turnaround than employee well-being are all factors outlined in the lawsuit.

Yahoo News reports that one of the three claimants in the case comes right out and says that they were infected with the coronavirus "from workers who were explicitly or implicitly encouraged to continue attending work and prevented from adequately washing their hands or sanitizing their workstations."

All that and workers just lost their $2 hazard pay raise? We welcome this new addition to Central Florida's economic landscape!

This article first appeared at our sister paper Orlando Weekly

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