Amazon to Close Shakopee Sorting Center

Amazon to Close Shakopee Sorting Center

The closure will impact 680 employees, but Amazon says they will be offered transfers to other Twin Cities facilities.

At the end of March, Amazon will close its warehouse in Shakopee, but the company says the facility’s 680 employees can transfer to other sites in the Twin Cities.

The closure, which will be effective March 31, was outlined in a Monday WARN notice filed with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Amazon says the closure is simply because of the expiration of the facility’s current lease.

While the notice indicated around 680 employees at the MSP5 facility at 5825 11th Ave E, Shakopee, will be impacted, Amazon spokesperson Steve Kelly said in a statement that all impacted employees are being offered opportunities to transfer. Amazon has 10 different operations sites in the Twin Cities area, according to the company. That includes a separate fulfillment center in Shakopee. Those who choose not to stay with Amazon will also be offered support, the company said.

“We’re always evaluating our network to make sure it fits our business needs and to improve the experience for our employees, customers, partners, and drivers. As part of that effort, we may close older sites, enhance existing facilities, or open new sites, and we weigh a variety of factors when deciding where to develop future sites or maintain a presence,” Kelly wrote in a statement addressing the closure.

Amazon says it is working closely with employees to accommodate their scheduling preferences during its transition process. There will be no impact on Amazon customers and orders will continue to be fulfilled at existing sites, according to the company.

Minneapolis’s Awood Center, an East African economic and political empowerment nonprofit, said in a statement it believes Amazon’s decision to close this facility is “wrong and retaliatory.” The center believes the decision was due to efforts by workers organizing with the Awood Center to demand better working conditions, particularly through advocacy for the warehouse safety bill in the Minnesota Legislature.  

“Amazon strongly opposed the warehouse safety bill last session, and it is now on the verge of passing,” the statement reads. “We stand with Amazon workers and will continue to support their fight for better working conditions.”

Awood also asked Amazon not to close the facility. If the facility is closed, Awood hopes Amazon makes good on its promise to relocate workers. “If the closure moves forward, we demand that Amazon transfer workers to nearby Amazon warehouses so they can keep jobs.”

In 2021 the National Employment Law Project (NELP) released a report showing high rates of injury and turnover at Amazon’s Minnesota facilities compared to other warehouse operations in the state. The New York City-based research group produced the report in partnership with the Awood Center.

Though Amazon now operates several other sites in the Twin Cities, the company is a relative newcomer to Minnesota. Amazon didn’t open its first facility here until 2016.

While closure of the Shakopee facility isn’t likely to lead to any mass layoffs, Amazon earlier this month did outline plans to cut as many as 18,000 workers. The e-commerce giant is among several other technology companies that have announced recent mass layoffs. Salesforce and Facebook parent Meta have each slashed thousands of jobs, as well. Analysts have said that many Big Tech companies are now dealing with the consequences of major hiring sprees during the early days of the pandemic.