The city’s unions are at odds over Amazon LIC headquarters

Some are on board, others not so much

Stuart Appelbaum
Stuart Appelbaum

New York City’s unions are at odds over Amazon’s new headquarters in Long Island City.

Stuart Appelbaum, head of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, held a rally on Monday, criticizing not just Amazon but other unions that have cut deals with the e-commerce giant, Politico reported. Appelbaum called Amazon — which announced in November that it would be opening new locations in Long Island City and Arlington, Virginia — “one of the worst employers, not just in the United States but anywhere in the world.”

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Meanwhile, the building service employees union 32BJ SEIU has already reached agreements with TF Cornerstone and Plaxall, which are developing part of the new headquarters, to ensure they won’t oppose unionization of workers. One source told Politico that Amazon — which is receiving some $3 billion in state and city subsidies to relocate — will honor those agreements.

The Building and Construction Trades Council has also thrown its support behind Amazon’s new location, though it’s unclear if the organization has reached a deal with Amazon or developers of the headquarters.

“Since they are going to be working with TF Cornerstone, they will almost surely build union as well,” Stephanie Baez, a spokesperson for the city’s Economic Development Corporation, said in a statement. “TF Cornerstone always builds union.” [Politico] — Kathryn Brenzel