Amazon saw incredible level of pushback from its plans to bring its HQ2 in New York and ultimately decided to pull out. Now the company is facing the same type of blacklash for its plan to open second headquarters in Virginia.
Due to the level of success community activists and elected officials like New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saw in previous Amazon push, now an activist group called “For Us, Not Amazon” are demanding that Northern Virginia throw out Amazon’s plans to build its second headquarters in Arlington.
Activist group, “For Us, Not Amazon,” say that the negative impact of displacement and rise of cost in housing on low-income and minority communities in the area, as well as Amazon’s anti-union stance, are some strong reasons for Amazon to not build its second headquarters in Arlington after the company saw backlash from New Yorkers.
In a recent meeting of “For Us, Not Amazon,” Roshan Abraham, an organizer with Our Revolution Arlington, said that the county should vote to not accept the deal and shut it down completely, per the Washington Business Journal. “If Amazon chooses not to come to Arlington over $23 million, good riddance.”
Results from a December 2018 poll show that 68 percent of Virginians approve the deal with Amazon, while 30 percent do not approve. Per data from real estate firm Long & Foster, median house prices have risen in Arlington by 10 percent in the last year, to $607,500, and inventory has dropped by 38 percent, as well as by 30 percent from nearby Alexandria.
Activist group “For Us, Not Amazon” has spent weeks in communities in Virginia and have found strong evidence that majority of the residents do not support the deal with Amazon.
In its deal with Virginia, Amazon agreed to bring 25,000 jobs over the span of 12 years with wages averaging over $150,000. Amazon said its tax payments in Virginia will reach $3.2 billion over two decades. In addition, the company would receive $573 million in state and local incentives from Virginia as part of its agreement. If the agreement gets approved by Arlington County Board, the county would give Amazon $23 million over the next 15 years.
In a statement, Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, said, “Amazon’s arrogance in staging a rare public auction that caused hundreds of politicians in three nations to embarrass themselves – and waste millions of taxpayer dollars on bids that never had a prayer – will go down in history as both a financial failure and as a negative turning point in the corporation’s reputation.”
A coalition of activists that have continued to push Amazon back said, “Communities of color, immigrant families, women, and millennials in and around the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia and the urban core of Nashville, Tennessee, demand decent and affordable homes, safe, stable jobs, and reliable public transit — and want immediate answers and accountability from Amazon.”
“How can money be given to one of the wealthiest companies in the world when we have real social needs that should be prioritized,” Danny Cendejas, an organizer with La ColectiVA, which advocates for social justice for Latinos, said to NBC News.
That’s not all. Another organizer has questioned why Amazon should receive incentives and subsidies when the giant has a staggering $800 billion in market capitalization.