On 8.11.19, City & State New York published an interview with Kyle Bragg, president of 32BJ. Bragg’s comments suggests that Industry City is currently in talks with Amazon. Bragg also offered general praise for IC. From the interview:
Now HQ2 is gone, but Amazon still appears to be expanding its presence in the city. Do your members still stand to benefit?
Absolutely, we’re talking to Industry City folks right now, I’ve been involved in those conversations. We believe it can be a great opportunity for the city as well. Setting Amazon aside, Industry City is one of the largest spaces in the city that will be developed in our current time. It will create good jobs and opportunities for New Yorkers. So, if Amazon is a part of Industry City, then we have the opportunity to go at them over being responsible employees in our city. If they land in any part of our jurisdiction, you can trust and believe that we’ll be at them about being responsible employers and creating jobs that provide people with dignity and respect in the workplace.
Note: It is not clear from these comments what kind of project Bragg is referring to. In September, 2017, Industry City offered Amazon four million square feet of its (rezoned) property for the company’s second headquarters, or HQ2 – that was a corporate office project. However, recent unconfirmed reports stated that Amazon was exploring a logistics facility in IC.
In the interview, Bragg also reiterated his union’s previous position that bringing Amazon’s HQ2 to New York City would have been good for the city and its workers:
Back when HQ2 was still happening, 32BJ supported it because it had struck a deal with Amazon, even though Amazon was widely criticized for being anti-union, and was opposed by major unions like RWDSU. What would you say to those who call the company anti-union?
Let me start by saying that Héctor’s Daily News editorial was spot on. I’m actually the officer who did the deal with Amazon, so obviously I was in favor of it. I think it was a missed opportunity for many reasons and I think the people who were anti-HQ2 are hard-pressed to really articulate what the victory was. Because we had the opportunity to take a company like Amazon, play with them on our home court, unionize a portion of their work and then to confront them on their labor policies. On top of that, we lost a countless number of jobs. People were agonizing over the tax breaks, but I think the benefits – the income that was going to be generated for this city, into this state – far outweighed any benefits that they were doing. And they had strict restrictions on how those tax dollars were going to be used. So, if they didn’t achieve the job creation goals that were set out, then they weren’t getting the money.
We are losing young and talented folks who are starting out their careers to other cities and states because of the lack of opportunity here. Although things are good here, we could have had the ability to continue to attract younger talent into our city and generate more tax dollars and revenue into our city and state.
So, that’s a missed opportunity. And now Amazon’s in Philly now, and that’s a 32BJ city and so we still get a crack at them. But as Héctor far more eloquently articulated in his editorial, it was a total missed opportunity. And I can’t see anywhere where people can claim victory for not having them in Long Island City.
Read the full City & State New York piece here.
— Posted by JVS on 8.12.19, backdated to 8.11.19