Community groups and unions that oppose Amazon's plans to locate a huge corporate center in Long Island City, Queens went on the offensive Monday, holding a summit in the city to highlight what they call the downside of the giant retailer's explosive growth.
Two City Council members from Amazon's hometown of Seattle took part in the briefing, warning that the economic benefits promised by the giant retailer would be accompanied by problems, including higher real estate costs driving less-affluent residents away. Participants also criticized the billions of dollars in city and state subsidies being used to lure the company to Queens.
An Amazon worker from Flatbush, Brooklyn, Rashad Long, added a local perspective about working for the company. He said his 90-minute- to two-hour commute to Amazon’s order fulfillment center on Staten Island and mandatory 12-hour shifts during peak season leave him with little time to see his family. He says there is also constant pressure to improve productivity no matter how hard and fast employees are working.
The warnings of gloom and doom came two days after Amazon penned a public letter promising to be a good neighbor, one that will create 25,000 jobs over 10 years, help build a neighborhood school and pay billions of dollars in taxes.