Just days before, I had counseled a senior Amazon executive about how they could win over some of their critics. Meet with organized labor. Start hiring public housing residents. Invest in infrastructure and other community needs. Show you care about fairness and creating opportunity for the working people of Long Island City.
There was a clear path forward. Put simply: If you don’t like a small but vocal group of New Yorkers questioning your company’s intentions or integrity, prove them wrong.
Instead, Amazon proved them right. Just two hours after a meeting with residents and community leaders to move the project forward, the company abruptly canceled it all…
In the end, Amazon seemed unwilling to bend or even to talk in earnest with the community about ways to shape their project. They didn’t want to be in a city where they had to engage critics at all. And it’s a pattern. When Seattle’s City Council passed a tax on big employers to fund the battle against homelessness, the company threatened to stop major expansion plans, putting 7,000 jobs at risk. The tax was rescinded.