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Challenging Amazon’s Harmful Model of Economic Development

The Crisis: Amazon has encroached on our economy and democracy in harmful and dangerous ways that has undermined our ability to govern our communities. Its rapid expansion both in profits and its physical locations has been made at the expense of the health, safety, and wellbeing of its employees. Their massive delivery network relies on oil and gas that has exacerbated health impacts of the climate crisis. They leverage their power to make tax deals with local governments that drain public resources that should be going to schools, hospitals, and transit. This corporation is unafraid to manipulate customers and take advantage of small businesses. They rely on using technologies that surveill their customers, use our data for profit, and fuel discimatory polling of immigrants and communities of color. We are joining the call across the country to stop Amazon’s growing, powerful grip over our society.

The Movement:

With a large coalition of labor, community, and grassroots organizations, we defeated Amazon’s push to win a $3 billion economic development deal for a new corporate headquarters in Long Island City, Queens. Throughout 2019, we worked with a long standing alliance of community and labor to protect our communities and our city from giving away public money to a trillion dollar corporation that is harmful for workers, communities, immigrants, and the environment.  

We told Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s leaders something they aren’t used to hearing: no. We organized relentlessly — not just against Amazon but for a better, more just vision of economic development that will redirect the billions currently spent on corporate tax subsidies toward community-led investments in our neighborhoods and in unionized workplaces that will create sustainable livelihoods full of dignity and joy. Our lead role in this fight against Amazon generated national headlines, and was covered in numerous media outlets.  

National leaders like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez praised the organizing work we helped drive that forced Amazon to abandon its plan for Long Island City, Queens. 

Action: 

Campaigns and organizations across the country are increasingly turning to us for insight into how to organize effectively against Amazon and pressure the corporation to change how it does business. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have stood with Amazon warehouse workers who walked off their jobs in order to win greater protections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our partners have been on the ground helping to organize Amazon workers and help them fight for the pay, benefits, and workplace safety measures they need.

Amazon workers also fought for and helped win the NY HERO Act, which will ensure health and safety standards, and a stronger voice in the workplace for all frontline workers, especially those who work for Amazon. Our report shows that the NY HERO Act will be critical in building power for Amazon’s workers across the state as they are rapidly expanding across the state. 

Moving forward, we will continue to organize and advocate for policies that will improve the lives and jobs of Amazon workers and all other essential workers in New York.

Contact jake@alignny.org for more information on this campaign