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Why Amazon Is Caught in an Unexpected Brawl in New York

Category: Business,Finance

The company is working on a hiring plan that would be made public at the next City Council hearing, according to a person familiar with the company’s discussions who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Amazon has also been encouraged by recent polls, including one on Monday by the Siena College Research Institute, which found wide approval for the deal in Queens, including among union households. Support was even stronger among black and Hispanic registered voters than among whites.

For their part, opponents have not coalesced around a set of goals. Some want to see the deal scrapped; others wants the company to be more amenable to unions; still others want to go much further and dismantle the company altogether.

Mr. Gianaris, who urged Amazon to come to New York in a 2017 letter, canvassed with opponents of the deal in Long Island City on Saturday.

When asked what he wanted from the company, he did not respond directly.

“Their behavior does not present a path forward,” Mr. Gianaris said of Amazon. “They’re sitting there threatening to leave, which is what they did to Seattle when they got them to bend to their will.

“Amazon is big, but it’s not bigger than New York. They don’t get to tell us what to do.”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens, another onetime proponent turned vigorous opponent, was more direct. “I want the deal to be scrapped in its entirety,” he said. “They want to crush unions. They want to work with ICE. They want to bypass community review. They want to take giant subsidies. I don’t see them changing one bit and, so yeah, they’re not welcome here.”

The fight has drawn in unions on both sides. It has highlighted divisions between long-term residents of public housing in Long Island City, most of them black and Hispanic, and wealthier recent arrivals, many of whom are white. It has become a kind of litmus test for progressive bona fides on the left flank of the Democratic Party in New York, exposing the same sorts of fault lines — pragmatism versus principle; rapid versus deliberate change; capitalism versus socialism — that are roiling the party nationally.


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