Ocasio-Cortez: New Yorkers Defeated Jeff Bezos’s ‘Corporate Greed’

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Saul Loeb, Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty
JOSHUA CAPLAN

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) cheered Amazon’s decision to cancel the construction of its planned second headquarters in New York City, saying residents “defeated” the “corporate greed” of the e-commerce giant and its billionaire founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

“Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world,” she wrote.

The freshman congresswoman’s district borders the area in which Amazon selected as the site for the project.

Earlier Thursday, Amazon announced it will not go ahead with the headquarters, citing growing opposition from city and state officials. The technology giant planned on bringing 25,000 jobs to the city, and investment $2.5 billion on the construction of new office buildings.

“After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens. For Amazon, the commitment to build a new headquarters requires positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials who will be supportive over the long-term,” the company said in a statement. “While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”

The Associated Press reports that growing opposition to the headquarters had begun to cause a “rift” among New York lawmakers:

The Amazon debate had caused a rift among some Albany Democrats, with Senate Majority Leader Andrew Stewart Cousins, of Yonkers, accusing the governor of trying to divide the party after the Democrat-controlled Legislature passed a series of progressive measures over the past month.

New York Mayor Bill De Blasio recently told lawmakers at a state budget hearing on local government funding that the type of high-paying jobs the Amazon deal could bring to Queens are the kind the city needs to expand its technology sector. Amazon has said it would bring at least 25,000 and as many as 40,000 jobs to the Long Island City neighborhood over 10 to 15 years.

The list of local grievances against the project grew as the months wore on.

City Council members scheduled hearings at which they grilled Amazon officials about the company’s labor practices, its contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide facial recognition technology and other issues. City politicians denounced the process by which the deal was negotiated as secretive.

De Blasio said in a statement: “We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world. Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity.”

The Teamsters union also lauded the company’s decision to ditch New York.

“New Yorkers made it clear that Amazon wasn’t welcome in our city if it would not respect our workers and our communities,” said Teamsters Joint Council 16 head George Miranda “Apparently, the company decided that was too much to ask.”

Amazon, which was awarded close to $3 billion in tax incentives for the project, said it isn’t seeking out another location, and instead will continue expanding its footprint in the cities of Arlington and Nashville.

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