Jan 06, 2019
In an effort to warn New Yorkers about Amazon's dismal treatment of workers, harmful impact on public housing, and myriad other concerns following the sweetheart HQ2 deal that was finalized late last year, two Seattle City Council members traveled to New York City to participate in a summit on Monday that also featured labor officials, Amazon employees, and New York state representatives.
In Seattle, where Amazon's current headquarters is located, "workers have been pushed out further and further from the city because they can't afford it. The result of having Amazon in town is gentrification, is people losing their family home," said Seattle City Council member Teresa Mosqueda, who joined her fellow lawmaker Lisa Herbold at the event.
\u201cSeattle council member, @CMTMosqueda discuss what has happened to Seattle since Amazon: \n\nOur people cannot keep their jobs, or buy their first homes. More families are being pushed out. Poverty and homelessness has increased. \n\n#AMZHQ2Brief #HQ2Scam\u201d— Make the Road NY \ud83e\udd8b (@Make the Road NY \ud83e\udd8b) 1546880068
The meeting came days after the Seattle-based company ran an ad in New York City papers attempting to smooth over tensions over the deal by pledging "to be your partner, to listen, learn, and work together."
In tweets reacting to the meeting, social justice group New York Communities for Change (NYCC) denounced the wealthy e-commerce giant's hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and said the new Queens headquarters will be bad news for the local community and workers:
\u201cHappening now: #amzhq2brief on why Amazon is a bad company for workers, immigrants, and our communities and we need to end the #HQ2Scam\u201d— New York Communities for Change (@New York Communities for Change) 1546876924
\u201cToday, @NYCCouncil is holding its first hearing on the @Amazon #HQ2scam. There\u2019s no excuse for handing billions to a company that exploits workers, collaborates with ICE, and will displace our vibrant Queens communities. #AmazonHQ2Briefing #NoAmazonNYC\u201d— New York Communities for Change (@New York Communities for Change) 1546876554
\u201cThe @Amazon #HQ2scam could displace 1,500 units of affordable housing in NYC and make the situation worse for NYCHA residents. Our government shouldn\u2019t be paying billions to a megacorporation to drive people out of their neighborhoods. We say #NoAmazonNYC. #AmazonAnswersNYC\u201d— New York Communities for Change (@New York Communities for Change) 1546876260
According to New York state Sen. Mike Gianaris, who represents the area where the HQ2 will be, "This company is too big and powerful. Seattle tried to implement common sense public policy to protect its people, and Amazon basically rolled it back," referring to the company's defeat of a modest tax proposal aimed at combating Seattle's homelessness crisis.
\u201c\ud83d\udea8HAPPENING NOW\ud83d\udea8Packed the house with Seattle Councilmembers, Amazon workers and community members who gathered today to talk about Amazon\u2019s impact on their Seattle and what\u2019s at stake in New York.\n#HQ2ScamBrief #HQ2Scam\u201d— New York Communities for Change (@New York Communities for Change) 1546877302
"This Amazon giveaway is immoral," concluded New York City council member Jimmy Van Bramer. "New York City should learn something from Seattle. Amazon's record of mistreating workers, preying on small businesses, and attacking progressive reforms should concern us all. New Yorkers deserve better."
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