Two politicians traveled to New York to warn the city about the troubles Amazon’s headquarters brought to Seattle, according to a report in Bloomberg.
Lisa Herbold and Teresa Mosqueda, members of the Seattle City Council, want to warn New York’s elected officials about the housing and transportation issues they experienced after Amazon built its headquarters in Seattle.
Amazon announced last year that it was going to build a new campus in Queens. The two women are urging lawmakers to pass laws now that will handle the potential problems, such as rising housing costs.
The politicians planned to speak on Monday (Jan. 7) at the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, an organization that has been backing efforts to organize workers at a Staten Island Amazon fulfillment center.
“I hope they can learn from Seattle’s experiences and create a set of new expectations for corporate responsibility that can benefit the working poor who work for Amazon and other people priced out of housing in high-cost cities everywhere,” Herbold said in an emailed statement before the event.
“This isn’t about being anti-growth or anti-corporation. It’s about corporate accountability and shared responsibility,” Mosqueda said in an interview with Bloomberg. “These companies do well because of our workforce and infrastructure, and they’ll continue to do well if they invest in that infrastructure.”
Mosqueda went on to say that New York should act quickly and create new taxes to collect the revenue they’ll need to make sure housing stays affordable. She added that New York should be wary of philanthropic gestures as being enough to tackle those complicated issues that arise when Amazon comes to town.
A few New York politicians have expressed their discontent with Amazon over secret talks that allowed the company to make the move, including U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
As a follow-up to this story, an Amazon spokesperson submitted the following statement via email: “Amazon is engaging in a long-term listening and engagement process to better understand the community’s needs. We’re committed to being a great neighbor — and ensuring our new headquarters is a win for all New Yorkers. Amazon makes substantial positive contributions to the economy, the communities where we operate, and to the lives and careers of our employees. We have created more than 250,000 full-time, full benefit jobs across the U.S. that now have a minimum $15 an hour pay and we have invested more than $160 billion in the U.S. economy since 2011.”