Happy Halloween everyone!
So. Julie, Chance, and I have now been living in the Reno area for nearly three weeks. All in all, things are going well and I’m enjoying our new home base, more details on Sparks Marina to come. We’ve made one trip out to Lake Tahoe already
and hopefully will be doing another this weekend (canceled on account of snow, can you believe it?).
But before getting into all of that, I feel a report on why we’re here in the first place is in order: working at Amazon. I get a lot of questions from curious RVers about what CamperForce is really like, so I do my best to keep this blog a good resource for those who are contemplating working here themselves.
Like last year, I’m going to focus on the differences between this and previous years and how Fernley is different from Coffeyville where I worked the last two years. For those of you just joining the program who have no idea what I’m talking about, the link to my main article about Amazon’s CamperForce can be found here. At that bottom of that page are links to every other post I’ve written about it, and the link for this article will be joining it shortly.
For starters, I mentioned this in a previous post a month or two ago, but I think this is worth bringing up again since I have new info. Since CamperForce’s start there have been three main sites that RVers could choose to work at: Campbellsville in Kentucky, Coffeyville in Kansas, and Fernley in Nevada. This season, Amazon added a fourth one: Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This coming February, the Coffeyville site is being shut down, which brings CamperForce back down to three sites. And the Fernley site is moving to Reno.
From what we were told during orientation, CamperForce will have a presence at the new Reno location, but there has been no estimate on the number of RVers who will be hired. What we do know, is that in order to work at the new Reno location, you’ll be required to learn how to drive PIT equipment (powered industrial trucks). All the picking and stowing is going to be done using PIT (so it’ll be all pallets maybe?). It sounds like Amazon will train and certify willing people, and you do not need to have certification or experience with PIT in order to be hired – but as always I’m not an official Amazon spokesperson and all information I provide here could change at any time. We’ll see what the playing field looks like after the move to Reno is made early next year.
Now on to the differences between Fernley and Coffeyville:
- Last year, Coffeyville moved to a system whereby all overtime was voluntary for CamperForce, and I can only assumed that remained true this year. It sounds like Fernley still holds to the system where overtime becomes mandatory for CamperForce as peak approaches.
- Fernley has already talked about moving all of it’s employees to mandatory 11 hour days for peek, something that only happened for Outbound in Coffeyville.
- Fernley’s hours are a bit different. Outbound and Inbound start at the same time, which is 7 am to 5:30 pm for the day shift, and 6 pm to 4:30 am for the night shift. Coffeyville ran a half-hour earlier for Inbound, one hour earlier for Outbound.
- Oh, and two big things that are the same. Fernley was reported (from what I heard from other campers) to have the most strict policy about breaks and lunches. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s actually no different that Coffeyville. The overall treatment I receive from managers and other employees is also comparable.
And differences between this year and last year:
- Weekly paychecks instead of bi-weekly
- There is no 10% discount on up to $1000 of purchases this year for CamperForce. Instead we get:
- Heath Care enrollment and
- Paid Time Off, which can be used after 21 days of employment, can be used during peak time (it’d have to be, since we’re only there for peek, heh), and is lost if not used by the end of our contract time.
For many campers who have lots of family to do Christmas shopping for, the loss of the 10% discount is unfortunate. It doesn’t bother me too much, I never was a big online shopper.
The health care enrollment is kind of a pain. Nine and a half weeks isn’t enough time to use it to go see a doctor for preventative care (especially on a night schedule and with so much overtime) so I don’t really get anything out of it. If they do it next year there’s a possibility I’ll be enrolled in a ACA plan, and getting coverage from a job may make me ineligible for the ACA plan, so it may turn out to be a negative for me and other younger full-timers who pay for their own health insurance.
The paid time off.. I’m not sure yet. It’ll be handy if campers can use those days when they’re feeling tired and don’t want to work mandatory overtime or if they’re not feeling well. I’m wondering if using that time in place of a standard work day would keep me from getting overtime pay if overtime was called later in the week. We’ll just have to see.
Other than that, Fernley and Coffeyville are startlingly similar. I wouldn’t rate one as better than the other, although there is more to do in the Reno area. Oh, and for those wondering what we’re doing, Julie and I are in Stowing this year, that’s the job I did my first year at Amazon.
And that’s a wrap on Amazon for now. The earning potential is looking promising for this season. I already had overtime this week, which has made updating a challenge. Which brings me to the second part of the title for this post.
Living in Sparks and driving to Fernley for work is a 45 minute ordeal twice a day. Add that to a ten hour work day and eight hours for sleep, and there is honestly very little time on week days to work on writing posts. Especially since I also really want to get the eguide out before the end of the year. I started writing this post on Tuesday, and didn’t finish it until today. Once peak gets closer and we’re moved to 11 or 12 hour days, there will be even less time.
So, I’m going to try something new.
Last time when I found myself short on free time to update IO twice a week, I just posted once a week. But I didn’t like that solution. I love sharing and chatting with all of you, and I feel disconnected when I can’t update regularly. This is what I love to do, and if having to work didn’t interfere and I could write more often I would.
So what I’m going to try is writing one regular post a week, and then once or twice during my work week posting a picture. I’ll try to keep them interesting and relevant to RVing, and will include a caption or perhaps a motivational quote. We’ll call this a trial run and see how you all like it. I’m hoping doing it this way will allow me more time to keep up with comments and respond to e-mails and keep to a more regular posting schedule during my time here at Amazon.
Let me know what you think! In the meantime, no Halloween night is complete without watching at least one scary movie, so Julie and I are off to do that now. Have a great weekend all!
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