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Amazon may be getting cold feet and be ready to backpedal out of its plan to build a new campus in New York City.
In November, the online retailer announced that it has chosen two locations for its new HQ2 project, one in Long Island City, and a second in Virginia. However, according to a new report released Friday, Amazon is reconsidering its choice in New York.
“The question is whether it’s worth it if the politicians in New York don’t want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming,” one person familiar with Amazon’s plans told The Washington Post.
Amazon has been derided by some New York politicians, who have been critical of the project and its nearly $2 billion in incentives cities agreed to provide in exchange for an estimated 25,000 well-paid jobs.
“Whether it’s building a pipeline of local jobs through workforce training or funding computer science classes for thousands of New York City students, we are working hard to demonstrate what kind of neighbor we will be,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.
According to the Post, in the past two weeks, the state Senate nominated an outspoken Amazon critic to a board where he could potentially veto the deal. The report notes that no plans to officially abandon New York have been made, though there is expected to be a third City Council hearing on the matter later this month.
It is unclear what Amazon’s plans for its second HQ2 location if it is to leave the Empire State.
Stuart Applebaum, the President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said that if the deal is to fall apart, Amazon only has themselves to blame.
“If the Amazon deal falls apart, they will have nobody to blame but themselves. A major problem is the way the deal was put together shrouded in secrecy and ignoring what New Yorkers want and need,” he said in a statement. “They arrogantly continue to refuse to meet with key stakeholders to address their concerns, despite requests from New York’s top elected officials to do so.
“With their long history of abusing workers, partnering with ICE to aid their persecution of immigrant communities, and contributing to gentrification and a major housing crisis in their hometown of Seattle, New Yorkers are right to raise their concerns and opposition to this plan. New Yorkers won’t be bullied by Jeff Bezos, and if Amazon is unwilling to respect workers and communities they will never be welcome in New York City,”
“Can everyday people come together and effectively organize against creeping overreach of one of the world’s biggest corporations,” freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posted on Twitter with a link to The Post’s report. “Yes, they can.”
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union President Marc Perrone said, “it is outrageous that Amazon is now essentially threatening New York City taxpayers to pay for its new headquarters or else it will leave town.”
“Multibillion-dollar corporations and billionaires like Jeff Bezos should not be threatening New Yorkers or expect any American taxpayers to foot the bill for opening a new headquarters – whether it’s in New York City, Arlington, Virginia, or anywhere else.
“Why should we subsidize the creation of 25,000 Amazon jobs when Amazon’s entire business model seeks to eliminate millions of retail jobs,” he said. “The last thing we, as taxpayers, should ever be asked to pay for is the destruction of our own jobs.”
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