The ad was, shamefully, signed by our union president, along with a slew of corporate CEOs and only four other union leaders, in yet another example of how our current union leadership cares more about currying favor with politicians and corporations than defending the interests and rights of working people in New York City.
MORE is also a member of the Citywide Alliance Against Displacement, which wrote the this letter about why Amazon’s retreat is a victory for New Yorkers.
Power to Billionaires and their Corporations over Our Communities’ Future
As New Yorkers we believe every person has the right to good union jobs, safe and dignified affordable housing, strong and stable communities, a great public education, and a voice in our democracy. Because of these values, we must oppose Governor Cuomo’s failed economic development policies that give more power over our communities’ futures to billionaires and their corporations.
Cuomo’s plea for Amazon to come back to New York and the open letter that appears in the New York Times today does not accurately reflect the desires of immigrant communities, working-class communities, and communities of color. Amazon left the first time around because of fierce vocal opposition, and that opposition still remains. We defeated them recently, and we will do it again.
The Amazon HQ2 plan was a perfect example of the Governor’s failed economic development policies. It was a backroom deal that cut out communities and handed a $500 million grant and $2.5 billion in future public money to the wealthiest man in the world. Other than the union construction and building services jobs that were already in place from previous plans for the site and that were grandfathered into the deal, Amazon made little commitment to local hiring and promised just 30 jobs for public housing residents. Their presence in Seattle drove up rents and homelessness to unprecedented levels. A similar headquarters in Long Island City would have done the same in Queens, accelerating the displacement of our communities. Furthermore, Amazon refused to stay neutral to unionization efforts or to stop their collaboration with ICE, which is incompatible with the values of the people of New York.
The State of New York has allocated tens of billions of dollars to corporations in the name of economic development, but communities and workers across the state continue to suffer from disinvestment. While Governor Cuomo said that Amazon leaving was the greatest tragedy since he’s been in office, our communities face real tragedies every day that continue to go unaddressed by the administration:
- Students are suffering from crumbling schools, outdated textbooks, and crowded classrooms while the state owes our public schools billions of dollars in aid. The Governor refuses to comply with a lawsuit that would force the state to release that aid to our public schools.
- Nearly 100,000 New Yorkers sleep in shelters each night, a number that has risen 36% on Governor Cuomo’s watch. Nearly 100,000 rent stabilized apartments have been lost.
- Public housing residents are living in deplorable conditions while State funding for public housing continues to decline. Plans like NYCHA 2.0 and NextGen NYCHA are inadequate solutions to New York’s ongoing public housing crisis.
- Riders can no longer depend on the MTA to get to work, school, and critical appointments. Cuomo has presided over disinvestment in the system that now requires $40 billion to pay for repairs and modernization.
We are a diverse coalition of New Yorkers who believe that we need ‘bottom-up’ economic development designed for the benefit of our communities, not for billionaires, corporations and real estate speculators. Cuomo’s failed economic development policies have extracted our wealth in exchange for false job promises. Look no further than the Buffalo Billion project, which has been riddled with corruption and cost the state nearly $1 million per job.
We are committed to the establishment of a new equitable economic development agenda that redirects the billions of dollars currently spent on tax breaks and subsidies for corporations towards deep, community-led investments in our neighborhoods. We need investment that creates good union jobs, real affordable housing, fully funded schools, and modernized public infrastructure.
Rather than pursuing economic development policies that lead to displacement, we demand policies that create housing stability and security. We call for Universal Rent Control that gives people, not the real estate industry, the power to determine where they live — no New Yorker should live in fear of a rapid rent increase or an eviction.
We will continue to hold Amazon accountable and defend our communities from their monopolistic practices, their tax avoidance, and their collaboration with ICE. We will continue to stand in solidarity with Amazon workers facing brutal working conditions and union busting bosses.
These fights won’t be easy. But we know New Yorkers will stand with us in our fight for a state that works for all of us.
- Adhikaar for Human Rights & Social Change
- Alliance for Quality Education
- Arab American Association of New York
- Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD)
- Bad Barcode
- BAJI — Black Alliance for Just Immigration
- BYP100 NYC
- CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
- Carroll Gardens Association
- Center for Popular Democracy
- Centro Corona
- Chhaya CDC
- Chinatown Arts Brigade
- Citizen Action of New York
- Coalition for Economic Justice Buffalo (CEJ)
- Community Development Project at Urban Justice Center
- Cooper Square Committee
- CUFFH-Churches United for Fair Housing
- Damayan Migrant Workers
- DRUM — Desis Rising Up & Moving
- Equality for Flatbush (E4F)
- Fifth Ave Committee
- Food and Water Watch
- Freedom to Thrive
- GAP — Global Action Project
- Hate Free Zones Queens
- Housing Justice For All
- Hunters Point Civic Association
- Indivisible Brooklyn
- International Socialist Organization
- JFREJ — Jews for Racial & Economic Justice
- Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club
- Jobs with Justice
- Justice Committee
- Justice for All Coalition
- Laundry Workers Center
- Legal Services Staff Association, NOLSW/UAW 2320
- Long Island Activists
- Long Island City Coalition
- Make the Road New York
- Met Council on Housing
- Mi Casa No Es Su Casa: Illumination Against Gentrification
- MinKwon Center
- MORE (Movement of Rank and file Educators — UFT Social Justice Caucus)
- Movement to Protect the People (MTOPP)
- MPower Change
- New Economy Project
- New York Communities for Change
- No IDC NY
- NOT ONE MORE BLOCK
- NY Progressive Action Network
- NYC Democratic Socialists of America
- NYS Tenants & Neighbors
- Our Movement The Future
- Partnership for Working Families
- Party for Socialism and Liberation Queens
- People’s Climate Movement New York
- Persist NY
- Picture the Homeless
- Primed Out NYC
- Progressive Hacknight
- Queens Against Amazon
- Queens Neighborhoods United
- Queens United Independent Progressives
- Retail Action Project
- Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Association (RENA)
- Rockland United
- Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus
- Shetu NYC
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Buffalo Chapter
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) National
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) NYC Chapter
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Rochester Chapter
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Westchester Chapter
- Socialist Alternative
- South Asian Diaspora Arts
- Southwest Brooklyn Tenant Union
- Take Back 20
- Teachers Unite
- Tenants Political Action Committee
- Tech Workers Coalition
- The Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network (BAN)
- Tompkins County Worker Center
- True Blue New York
- Ugnayan Youth for Justice & Social Change
- Upper West Side MoveOn/Indivisible Action Group
- Westside Neighborhood Alliance
- Working Families Party
- Yalla Brooklyn