NEW YORK—Today, Sunday, April 24, 2022, Brittany Ramos DeBarros (Democratic candidate for New York’s 11th Congressional District) and Sarah Blas (Democratic Candidate for New York State Senate District 23) joined Amazon Labor Union and the American Federation of Teachers in calling on New York Attorney General Letitia James to conduct an immediate investigation of Amazon for violating the Excelsior Job Programs as well as the immediate return of all funds allocated to the corporation under the program.
“In the state of New York alone, Amazon has received approximately $400 million dollars in tax subsidies. A major stipulation of these subsidy programs is that Amazon comply with federal labor law. Unfortunately, Amazon’s attempts to crush worker organizing have made the company a recidivist violator of workers’ rights, and they have been found in multiple cases to have illegally terminated employees for union organizing. The members of the ALU, in cooperation with Staten Island community members and the millions of members of AFT and NYSUT, demand that Amazon be held accountable for these violations and pay back this money with interest to the taxpayers of NY,” Connor Spence, Amazon Labor Union worker and organizer said.
“Once again our state has attempted to court the likes of giant corporations under the guise of quality employment opportunities. Not only were we the citizens denied those quality jobs, we are reminded that good jobs are in fact union jobs. We are here, shoulder to shoulder today, to ask Tish James to do the right thing. The funds allocated must be returned to the people in the form of education and infrastructure,” Blas said.
“We are witnessing a system that rewards billionaire CEO’s for abusing workers’ rights. We—working-class Staten Islanders—pay our property taxes, pay our federal, state and local taxes. Meanwhile, corporations like Amazon are handed over hundreds of millions of dollars in tax subsidies, while they openly violate state and federal labor laws and cause harm to workers. I’m proud to join Amazon Labor Union workers, our teacher unions, our nurses’ unions, and working-class people across New York State in demanding that Amazon is investigated for breaking labor laws, stripped of its eligibility for the Excelsior subsidies programs and reinvest the funds in our schools, in a New Deal for CUNY, and in our Staten Island communities,” Ramos DeBarros said.
Ramos DeBarros is endorsed by leaders of Amazon Labor Union including President Chris Smalls. New York’s 11th Congressional District and New York Senate District 23 both cover Staten Island—where the Amazon warehouses JFK8 and LDJ5 are currently located—and South Brooklyn. Video of the speeches from Ms. Ramos DeBarros, Ms. Blas, and Amazon Labor Union is available here.
Banner Image: Amazon Warehouse. Image Credit – Yender Gonzalez