New York Union Leaders Protest HQ2: ‘Amazon Is Anti-Worker’

November 28, 2018 - 1:38 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Organized labor and elected officials gathered in City Hall Park Wednesday to unveil a report that claims Amazon is anti-labor.

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, revealed the details of the report during the protest.

“Our report makes it clear that Amazon has operated as an anti-worker, union-busting company,” Appelbaum said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have contended that the deal with Amazon is finalized and will not be revised.  

However, elected officials from Long Island City – where the second headquarters is expected to be built – have fiercely opposed the agreement and have criticized the governor for excluding New Yorkers in the bidding process.

“The City Council will not stand pat and allow the governor and the mayor to roll over our powers when it comes to land use,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.

The councilmember has joined State Sen. Michael Gianaris to call on the governor and mayor to rescind the deal with Amazon, which they claim gives a $3 billion tax cut to the richest man in the world.

Additionally, Van Bramer promised if the City Council needs to go to court it will.

The protest Wednesday came just days after demonstrators swarmed an Amazon Bookstore in Midtown on Cyber Monday.

Amazon announced that it had selected New York City and Northern Virginia as the homes for its second headquarters on Nov. 13.

The online retailer has promised to create more than 50,000 jobs across the two new locations with an average wage of over $150,000.

As part of the agreement, New York has agreed to provide Amazon with direct incentives of $1.525 billion, including a refundable tax credit through the state’s Excelsior Program of up to $1.2 billion and a cash grant from Empire State Development of $325 million.

Residents and elected officials in Long Island City immediately took issue with the agreement and have been organizing protests throughout Manhattan and Queens since the deal was announced.