New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio slammed Jeff Bezos as a 1-percent elitist whose company victimized poorer New Yorkers by ending its HQ2 plans for the city with an “out-of-the-blue” telephone call.
“Here’s Bezos and here’s Amazon, the definition of 1 percent,” De Blasio said on WNYC public radio. “Look how little regard there was for everyday people. And it just dispels the notion that these big corporations are willing to be good citizens and good neighbors.”
Amazon.com Inc., with $3 billion in government incentives, had been expected to create 25,000 to 40,000 jobs in a reviving industrial area of Long Island City, Queens. The online retailer, among the world’s richest companies, abruptly canceled the project on Thursday, embittering De Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Democrats who had set aside their differences to champion the project against rising opposition from community groups and some elected officials.
Just a day before the pullout, an agreement on workers’ organizing was reached among Cuomo, labor-union representatives and Amazon, said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union. The goodwill vanished in an instant.
“To get a call out of the blue saying, ‘See you,’ you know, ‘We’re taking our ball and we’re going home’ – it’s absolutely inappropriate,” the mayor said on the radio program. “A lot of the opponents were people who already had made it, and God bless them, but a lot of folks who wanted Amazon were people who have not reached the middle class and wanted that opportunity.”