So Why Did Amazon Withdraw From the NYC Deal?

Miguel Moreno
By Miguel Moreno
February 16, 2019New York

Amazon made it clear in their Valentine’s Day statement: although 70 percent of New Yorkers supported the headquarters deal, Cupid missed his shot, leaving a small but defiant number of politicians unwilling to embrace Mr. Jeff Bezos. And without them, Amazon could go no further.

However, the New York Times reported that a meeting between Amazon executives, Governor Cuomo, and labor unions took place the day before Amazon’s withdrawal. New York’s loss of a possible 25,000 jobs may have had something to do with labor unions.

This photo shows the Amazon logo.
This photo shows the Amazon logo at the 855,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, on Feb. 5, 2019. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

When Union Meets Amazon

The head of the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Stuart Applebaum was present, joined by officials of the largest federation of unions in the United States, the AFL-CIO. Although Cuomo did not comment on the meeting, Applebaum told the New York Times: “It was a very productive meeting, and we were ready to move forward,” also saying that he felt that they were “on the road to dealing with our concerns.”

A visit to the RWDSU’s website led to a conflicting statement by the union’s director of communications, Chelsea Connor, made on the day of the break:

“Rather than addressing the legitimate concerns that have been raised by many New Yorkers, Amazon says you do it our way or not at all, we will not even consider the concerns of New Yorkers—that’s not what a responsible business would do.”

Protestors rally against Amazon.
Protestors rally against Amazon and the company’s plans to move their second headquarters to the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, at New York City Hall, Jan. 30, 2019.

Whether Amazon explicitly said this is unknown, but it is clear that things did not go as planned. The RWDSU did not immediately respond to a call by The Epoch Times.

Not Unless Amazon Makes A Change

A look at Amazon’s history shows that the company discourages the efforts of workers to unionize. New York City Council Members have made a point: Amazon workers deserve good jobs, and one council member believes that this is not possible without unionization.

Amazon’s head of policy communications, Jodi Seth, told NBC that the decision didn’t come from “any one incident.” According to Seth, it was due to the merciless volley of arrows shot from the political playing field.

On the other end, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer told Bloomberg that Amazon was given the chance to change, but they didn’t take it.

“If you talk to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it’s ‘Never Amazon,'” Seth told NBC. “If you talk to Jimmy Van Bramer, it’s unions.”

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