WYSK: UNIONS FOR AMAZON BUT NOT CITY COUNCIL EMPLOYEES

You should know it was very interesting to sit down during the Amazon hearing at City Council. I listened closely as Council Members questioned the leaders of Amazon in City Council Chambers yesterday.

As you know, Amazon entered into negotiations with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. They came to an agreement, allowing Amazon to build a 1 million square ft. headquarters in Queens County and in exchange Amazon will bring 25,000 high paying jobs.

On one end, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio, without consulting with the community, gave the go-ahead for Amazon to build. In return, they promised to donate space on their campus for a tech startup incubator and for use by artists and industrial businesses. Amazon also agreed to donate a site for a new primary or intermediary public school and new green spaces. If all goes as planned Amazon will also be eligible to receive a $2.5 billion in City and State tax credits.

NY City Hall — Council Chambers, East Wing

Now after the community outrage sparked, according to the New York Post, Governor Cuomo is complaining Amazon did not do enough to promote the benefits of the deal and gain community support. Well, it seems that Governor Cuomo would like to save face and not get blamed by passing ‘la papita caliente’ (hot potato) to Amazon. He should have thought of that before entering the agreement.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer questioned Amazon and was in opposition to Amazon bringing 25,000 high paying jobs because of Amazon’s resistance to unions. That means 25,000 families do not have the opportunity of a high paying job and instead are better with nothing. These families otherwise could pay their mortgages and other bills with a secure, high paying jobs.

Why are City Council Members asking for union workers at Amazon HQ when we do not even have a union here in City Council? Our City Council employees are not unionized but still have good paying jobs. Without a union they are paying their mortgages, childcare, and other bills. We don’t provide a union so why ask Amazon to provide one?

If we are so in love with unions and unions are good for the people, they should also be good for our staff here in the City Council. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense to ask Amazon to unionize when we are doing the opposite.

I am New York City Councilman Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr. and this is what you should know.

Councilman Rubén Díaz, Sr. represents District 18 in Bronx County.

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