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Last week brought news that a $5.6 million Amazon conversion project is coming to the former Bulova facility at 26-15 Boody Street in Woodside, Queens that will turn the warehouse into a delivery center for the retail giant. Though the new project is expected to create 2,000 new jobs, an Amazon spokesperson told 6sqft they’re likely to be $18-$25 per hour jobs rather than the 25,000 $150K professional salaries the no-go Amazon HQ had promised.
Amazon already runs two fulfillment centers in Staten Island with another planned for the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. According to Amazon, “Delivery Stations enable Amazon Logistics to supplement capacity and flexibility to Amazon’s delivery capabilities to support the growing volume of customer orders.” Those who will work here as Amazon Flex Drivers will be able to “be their own boss, create their own schedule.”
As per Crain’s, the new delivery center can be built “as of right,” with only routine building permits, meaning the additional government and community approval process that was missing from the proposed Long Island City HQ isn’t required, and local politicians don’t have the power to intervene.
It isn’t known yet whether Amazon will get tax breaks on the new warehouse, though the company regularly receives them for similar new facilities throughout the country and some subsidies are automatic for job expansions in outer boroughs; the Staten Island facility could get $18 million in state Excelsior Program grants.
Another source of unrest facing the new facility is its status with local unions. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union is currently attempting to organize employees at the Amazon-owned Whole Foods grocery stores–though without much success so far.
Local City Councilman Costa Constantinides and state Sen. Jessica Ramos, among others, have voiced their objections to the newest Amazon inroads, specifically with their non-union stance. Quoted in Qns.com, Councilman Constantinides said, “New York City was the laboratory for the rights of workers to organize in the fight for fair wages and good benefits. To allow this type of corporation to plant its flag in western Queens goes against our neighborhoods’ values, and we will make sure anyone who works in our district isn’t subjected to the long hours or harsh treatment people are allegedly subjected to elsewhere by Amazon.”
Sen. Ramos has said she is concerned about working conditions in the Staten Island Amazon facility, and has called for the company to allow workers to unionize: “We ask Amazon for card check neutrality, so that we can ensure pay, benefits, and working conditions are written in a binding contract between Amazon and its workers. We will not rest until Amazon can guarantee they will be a good neighbor.”
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Neighborhoods : Woodside