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The heated debate around Amazon’s recently announced Long Island City “HQ2” is showing no signs of cooling down.
On Monday morning, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) hosted a briefing in which labor officials, economic development analysts, Amazon employees and elected New York State and City representatives further underlined concerns around the HQ2 process, the awarded incentives, and the potential impacts Amazon’s presence would have on city workers and residents.
Arguments - Summit - Variety - Stakeholders - Concern
While many of the arguments posed at the Summit weren’t necessarily new, the wide variety of stakeholders that showed up to express concern looked to contextualize the far-reaching risks associated with the deal.
The day began with representatives from New York union groups recounting Amazon’s shaky history with employee working conditions and questioning how the city’s working standards will be impacted if the 50,000 promised jobs do actually show up.
Employees - Amazon - New - York - City
Two current employees working in an existing Amazon New York City warehouse in Staten Island provided poignant examples of improper factory conditions and promised employee benefits that never came to fruition. According to the workers, Amazon has yet to follow through on shuttle services and ride-sharing services that were promised to ease worker commutes, forcing the workers to resort to overcrowded and unreliable public transportation. One of the workers detailed that with his now four-hour commute to get to and from work, coupled with his meaningfully long shifts, he’s been unable to see his daughter for weeks.
Various economic development groups and elected officials including, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, and New York State Senator Mike Gianaris supported the labor arguments with spirited teardowns of the economic terms of the deal.
Critics - HQ2 - Process - Speakers - Beliefs
Like many critics of the HQ2 process, the speakers’ expressed their beliefs that Amazon knew where it wanted to bring its...
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