Representatives of NorthPoint have claimed that 4000 jobs will be created.  A recent investigation by the Port of Olympia found that large warehouse facilities like NorthPoint is proposing actually create very few local jobs.  The study found that on average there are 2 jobs per acre of warehouse.  With their massive 6,000,000 sq.ft. warehouse that equates to only 276 onsite jobs.  NorthPoint is likely counting the truckers, train workers, temporary construction workers, gas station workers, etc. who will not be employed by NorthPoint, and most will not reside in this county.  Additionally, a majority of the warehouse jobs will eventually be replaced by automation, as is already happening in many warehouses.

Thurston County currently has an abundance of available warehouse jobs.  The Hawks Prairie area has dozens of large warehouse distribution facilities (though they are all much smaller then the proposed NorthPoint facility).  Most, if not all, have unfilled positions and the majority of those positions are temporary or seasonal with no benefits, no raises, and no potential to move up.  Those who argue that we need more jobs in South Thurston County must believe the residents are not willing to travel 20 minutes to Hawks Prairie for a job.  We do not need more temporary warehouse jobs in this community.

What many do not consider is the loss of stable long term jobs at Millersylvania State Park, existing local businesses, and the damage to the tourist industry.  Many predict a significant decrease in park attendance which will lead to a loss of jobs both in the park and at other local tourism-supported business, jobs that are in high demand.

For a detailed look at another community's struggle with a train-serviced distribution center combined and the kind of jobs that can be expected read this very insightful article in the New Republic. In Elwood, the community featured in this article, the vast majority of the jobs are temporary, so called "temp to hire" jobs along with "contract positions."  

The "temp to hire" jobs typically last no more than 90 days (to avoid certain payroll taxes and benefit requirements) at which time the position ends and they are rehired by a different temp agency often doing the exact same job for the exact same company.  Every 90 days they miss a few days of work, and there is a gap in their paychecks because the first check is delayed until the following full pay period.  This inevitably causes missed rent payments, car payments, etc., with late fees that stack up and eventually leading to eviction and repossession.  In fact, these so called "temp to hire" jobs, due to their 90 day term, enforce the cycle of poverty and homelessness.

The majority of the truckers at inland ports such as this are paid per trip.  They are "contract workers" with no hourly wage or salary, no benefits, and responsible for repairs and maintenance of their vehicles.  According to a Port of Tacoma source, these contract truckers have to make a minimum of 3 trips per day just to break even.  They have an incentive to drive as fast as possible, taking the shortest, least congested route to maximize daily income.  These jobs also enforce the cycle of poverty.  In Elwood, the roads are often dotted with broken down trucks because the work does not pay enough to purchase new vehicles or maintain them well.  Once their truck breaks down, they are out of work and have to find a new vocation as they cannot afford to buy or lease a new truck.


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