“Mientras las encuestas muestran que el 70 % de los neoyorquinos apoya nuestros planes e inversión, varios políticos estatales y locales han dejado claro que se oponen a nuestra presencia en la ciudad y no trabajarán con nosotros para construir las relaciones requeridas para sacar adelante el proyecto”, dijo Amazon.
En un texto publicado en su blog corporativo, la firma anunció que cancelaba la apertura de la sede en el distrito de Long Island City porque necesita -sostuvo- una relación de “colaboración” a “largo plazo” con sus políticos electos, aunque agradeció tanto al gobernador Andrew Cuomo como al alcalde Bill de Blasio su apoyo.
Amazon, “decepcionada de alcanzar esta conclusión”, aseguró que el compromiso de Cuomo y De Blasio ha sido una de las grandes razones por las que dar marcha atrás le ha resultado “tan difícil”, después de que los funcionarios ofrecieran a la empresa incentivos fiscales por valor de unos 3.000 millones de dólares (2.653 millones de euros).
Al final de esta nota hay comentarios en inglés de políticos y líderes sindicales.
El pasado noviembre, Amazon anunció su intención de emplazar dos nuevas sedes en los estados de Virginia y Nueva York, una inversión conjunta de 5.000 millones de dólares (4.422 millones de euros) que emplearía a unas 50.000 personas en total, la mitad en Nueva York.
La oposición política fue palpable en las audiencias sobre el proyecto en el Ayuntamiento, donde concejales demócratas fiscalizaron el acuerdo, denunciaron una falta de transparencia de la negociación sobre la sede y consideraron que el montante del incentivo fiscal estaría mejor invertido en otros asuntos.
Grupos civiles como Make the Road, con 23.000 miembros, no tardaron en celebrar el anuncio de este jueves como una “victoria para la comunidad” que “muestra el poder de la gente sobre el hombre más rico del mundo”, en referencia al fundador y máximo ejecutivo de Amazon, Jeff Bezos.
La codirectora ejecutiva de Make The Road, Deborah Axt, expresó su solidaridad con los vecinos de otras ciudades en las que está o va a estar instalada la empresa porque, según reivindicó, Amazon lleva a cabo “políticas anti-trabajador, fomenta el desplazamiento, colabora con la autoridad de inmigración (ICE) y saquea las arcas públicas”.
En el mismo barrio de Queens donde se iba a construir la sede se reunieron esta tarde varios políticos para los que se ha hecho “justicia económica”, y recordaron que Amazon no iba a permitir a sus trabajadores sindicarse o que iba a propiciar la gentrificación.
Quien no celebró la decisión fue el gobernador Cuomo, para quien Nueva York “ganó la competición” e iba a generar “entre 25.000 y 40.000 trabajos bien pagados y casi 30.000 millones (26.533 millone de euros) en nuevos ingresos para financiar mejoras en el tránsito, viviendas, escuelas”.
En un comunicado, denunció que un “pequeño grupo de políticos puso sus estrechos intereses políticos por encima” de los comunitarios, y reclamó que rindan cuentas por la “oportunidad económica perdida” y acusó al Senado estatal de hacer “un daño tremendo”.
Por su parte, el alcalde De Blasio reaccionó en una breve nota muy tajante, declarando que hay que “ser duro” para abrirse paso en Nueva York, una ciudad llena de talento, y que si Amazon “no reconoce cuánto vale, sus competidores lo harán”.
“Dimos a Amazon la oportunidad de ser un buen vecino y hacer negocios en la mejor ciudad del mundo. En vez de trabajar con la comunidad, Amazon desechó la oportunidad”, añadió.
La compañía tecnológica comunicó que, pese a retirar su plan de establecerse en Nueva York, donde ya tiene unos 5.000 empleados, no buscará un nuevo emplazamiento y seguirá “con lo planeado” en el norte de Virginia y en Nashville, donde abrirá un centro de distribución.
Tras la decisión, el gobernador de Nueva Jersey, Phil Murphy, fue más rápido y dijo haber contactado con Amazon para expresarle que la ciudad de Newark “es una elección clara” para sus oficinas corporativas”, según medios locales.
COMENTARIOS EN INGLES:
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.
—U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortz (D-Bronx/Queens)
Amazon’s decision to withdraw…will go down as one of the biggest debacles in New York State history.
—Long Island Association president and CEO Kevin Law
Long sland was poised to reap enormous benefits from the move, which would have brought a flood of new high-wage jobs, business development, and much-needed tax revenue to the entire region.
Two-thirds of Long Islanders supported this move because they knew it would be good for them, their families, and their pocketbooks.…I urge Amazon to please reconsider their decision.
—Laura Curran, Nassau County executive
You have to be tough to make it in New York City. 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. We have the best talent in the world and every day we are growing a stronger and fairer economy for everyone. If Amazon can’t recognize what that’s worth, its competitors will.
—New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
This is one time I agree with @NYCMayor de Blasio and @NYGovCuomo. Loss of @Amazon is terrible for New York. All because progressives put sanctimony and ideological purity before workers and taxpayers. Sad day for New York.
—U.S. Rep. Pete King (R-Seaford) on Twitter
This is a tremendous blow to New York and a major mistake by those who are detracting against it. I stand ready to work with the governor, the mayor and anyone else who will try to keep them in New York. It’s just a really, really big mistake.
The governor and his team negotiated this over a long period of time and had the support from the mayor. You have to do your job, but tread carefully when you are talking about the future of the economy and we have to be more responsible on how we are questioning what is happening. I am not opposed to questioning. I am opposed to some of the vitriol.”
— Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove)
“Walking away so quickly shows that Amazon was interested in the taxpayer assistance and not being a good neighbor in Queens hiring the greatest workers in the world.”
— U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
“New York’s First Congressional District would be happy to be Amazon’s Valentine today and take these 25,000 great paying jobs! New York wouldn’t even need all the subsides if we didn’t have one of the worst business climates in the United States.”
— Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley)
I look forward to working with companies that understand that if you’re willing to engage with New Yorkers and work through challenging issues New York City is the world’s best place to do business. I hope this is the start of a conversation about vulture capitalism and where our tax dollars are best spent. I know I’d choose mass transit over helipads any day.
—Corey Johnson, New York City Council speaker
#ByeJeff and good riddance! Make no mistake: strong, effective community organizing is what defeated Amazon’s $3 billion backroom deal. Many low-income New Yorkers of color and immigrant New Yorkers came together to build a movement against the HQ2 deal for Long Island City, Queens. …
Queens is not for sale. Amazon has no intention of working with us. They would rather walk away than do the right thing by their neighbors, so we will continue to fight against the corporatization of our barrios, and we will win.
—Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change
Amazon’s decision … is a setback for the city that illustrates politics and anti-business sentiment can derail economic development despite competitive strengths. New York City clearly possesses the educated workforce and mass transit advantages Amazon wanted, although the company’s investment would have accelerated growth in those sectors. High-tech employment will grow more slowly without Amazon’s expected 25,000 new jobs, but the city’s economic fundamentals remain positioned to grow strongly in the future.
—Nick Samuels, vice president at Moody’s Investors Service
The news that Amazon has decided to cancel its plans to build its second headquarters in New York City is a disappointing development for working people in our city. This is a lost opportunity for Queens and New York on many levels. Of course, the loss of 25,000 direct jobs and many more indirect ones as well as the billions in revenue that the project was expected to bring into our city is unfortunate.
For labor however, this is also a missed opportunity to engage one of the largest companies in the world and to create a pathway to union representation for one of the largest groups of predominantly non-union workers in our country.
—Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU, a property service union
Rather than addressing the legitimate concerns that have been raised by many New Yorkers, Amazon says you do it our way or not at all, we will not even consider the concerns of New Yorkers – that’s not what a responsible business would do.
—Chelsea Connor, communications director for the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
New Yorkers made it clear that Amazon wasn’t welcome in our city if it would not respect our workers and our communities. Apparently, the company decided that was too much to ask. We are committed to fighting for the rights of workers throughout the Amazon supply chain and supporting their demand for a voice on the job.
—George Miranda, president of Teamsters Joint Council 16
From the beginning, the process of luring Amazon to western Queens ignored the community and proposed a giveaway of $3 billion to a multibillionaire dollar corporation. It is no shock to anyone that this was a disaster from the start and bad policy. New York City has long-standing processes in place to ensure that any project — from a sidewalk cafe to a corporate headquarters — considers the community’s needs. Our objections were never answered and we rightfully opposed this bad deal. Today is the natural result of plugging your ears to the legitimate concerns of the people and bypassing them in favor of corporations.
—Costa Constantinides, a New York City Council member whose district abuts the former Amazon site
We are stunned by today’s unfortunate news. Politics and pandering have won out over a once-in-a-generation investment in New York City’s economy, bringing with it tens of thousands of solid middle class jobs. This sends the wrong message to businesses all over the world looking to call New York home. Who will want to come now?
—Gary LaBarbera, president, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York
Defeating an anti-union corporation that mistreats workers and assists ICE in terrorizing immigrant communities is a victory. Defeating an unprecedented act of corporate welfare is a triumph that should change the way we do economic development deals in our city and state forever.
—Jimmy Van Bramer, New York City Council member whose district is in Queens
I am extremely disappointed that Amazon has decided to pull out of New York and take 25,000 much-needed jobs and billions of dollars in new revenue with them. From the start, the Senate Democrats have politicized and poisoned this process just so they could avoid the wrath of the extreme left wing of their party.
—Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport)
It should have come as no surprise that this deal, driven in secret by Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio, which offered billions in corporate welfare and other perks, was met with concern and opposition when it was rammed down everyone’s throats. If New York didn’t have one of the worst business climates in the country, we would have been able to attract Amazon — and many other companies — on the merits of our economy.
—Jessica Proud, spokeswoman for state Republican chairman Ed Cox
It’s sort of like the big bully that doesn’t like to be publicly embarrassed. I think they still might come back. New York is where people still want to be. It was like, ‘We’re not going to be pushed around by you New Yorkers.’ Maybe they were serious and wanted those tax breaks and they knew they weren’t getting them.
—Assemb. Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan)
It’s been a little unreal. It’s not as messy as Brexit, but still crazy.
—Frank Wu, president of Court Square Civic
Nice going anti-capitalists.
Taxpayers wanted a BETTER deal, not to KILL the deal. Those elected officials who fought Amazon tooth and nail without flexibility just lost more than 25,000 good paying jobs for their constituents and the people of New York City.
—Assmb. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn)
We’re extremely disappointed by this decision. Since our grandfather opened Plaxall’s doors on the waterfront seven decades ago, our family has believed in the overwhelming promise of Anable Basin and Long Island City as centers of productivity and innovation. We continue to believe that today.
—Paula Kirby, Tony Pfohl and Matthew Quigley, managing directors of Plaxall, a Long Island City-based company that once owned part of the property that Amazon had planned for its second headquarters
We all want jobs to come to Queens, and Amazon used the promise of job creation to extract major concessions for this project. But after last month’s City Council hearing, it became increasingly clear that they had no intentions of being good neighbors and committing to the required negotiations. They rejected our values of supporting working people and were unwilling to work with our local communities toward a mutually beneficial resolution. New York has the best tech work force in the nation, much of which is here in Queens, so if Amazon wants to take their jobs somewhere else with a lesser work force so they can undercut wages and workers’ rights, that’s their choice.
—Melinda Katz, Queens Borough president