Dear Mr. Berko: Our investment club thinks Amazon didn’t leave Queens because of that $3 billion; Amazon believes Rep. Alexander Ocasio-Cortez would create sticky problems if they opened offices in Queens. Your thoughts, please. Your opinion also of Tod’s, the Italian company making those expensive, beautiful shoes?
— R.A., Mecklenburg, N.C.
Dear R.A.: That $3 billion is raw, unmitigated corporate welfare. Amazon believes that Queens and its outlying communities have such a good group of talented people that it was going to say to heck with the $3 billion, but the constant bickering and negativity by various organizations was deafening. That $3 billion giveaway wasn’t the real reason “Queenslanders” were furious with Amazon, but it was the excuse paid agitators knew would rally organizers to demand concessions from Amazon.
The real reason Amazon (AMZN-$1,791) took its ball home wasn’t the fear that housing costs would skyrocket. Nor was it the fear that some low-income residents would be driven out of Queens. Many would find better employment with AMZN or the numerous businesses providing AMZN with daily supplies and material. It wasn’t numerous self-interest groups, organizations, politicians, city, county and state bureaucrats making demands, delivering petitions and challenging AMZN’s process for doing things. AMZN has met these challenges at fulfillment centers and warehouses around the nation.
Those reasons sound good to the public, but AMZN was willing and able to bargain. However, a management-level AMZN employee and column reader with access to the executive suite gave me the real reason: AMZN fears the unions. Over the years, Amazon has developed a nearly perfect process that controls workers, generates efficiencies and gets product delivered. Founder Jeff Bezos knows that unions will demand work rule changes, wage scales, reduced package volume, decreased worker hours, longer holidays, increased insurance and pension benefits, longer lunch breaks, increased bathroom/smoke breaks, etc. And workers striking to enforce these changes would destroy AMZN like they did the steel companies, automakers and airlines, notably TWA, Eastern, Braniff, US Air, Pan Am, National. That’s the real reason.
When AMZN went home, newly elected member of Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez exulted: “Today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers and their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed and its worker exploitation.” Is it any wonder that Amazon left Queens?