According to data from MWPVL International, the consulting firm, a small portion of Amazon fulfillment centers ship an extremely high volume of goods — more than one million items a day during last year’s peak period — including JFK8, the Staten Island warehouse where workers voted to join the Amazon Labor Union last spring.
If a union strikes and shuts down one of those buildings, “there will be penalties to pay” for Amazon even with its redundant capacity, said Mr. Wulfraat, MWPVL International’s president. He cited higher transportation costs and possible shipping delays. Amazon said the operational impact would be minimal.
More precarious is the company’s delivery infrastructure, where such extensive redundancy is impractical.
For example, Amazon also operates dozens of so-called sort centers, where often more than 100,000 packages a day are grouped by geographic area. Many metro areas the size of Albuquerque or St. Louis have only one or two such centers, and a metro area as large as Chicago has only four.
If one went down, Mr. Wulfraat said, Amazon could be forced to reroute packages to sort centers in other cities, raising costs. “You couldn’t just call up UPS and say: ‘Tomorrow, we’re going to dump 200,000 packages into your lap. Is that problem?’ They don’t have the bandwidth.” To get a sense of what this could cost, consider that FedEx spent hundreds of millions of dollars on such rerouting in 2021.