Amazon, Labor Unions and Warehouses

Long Island Construction Law does not own this content. This content was created by KATHERINE PLOTAS and was published to the Long Island Press on August 5th, 2021.

While Amazon has been planning to build a new warehouse in Syosset for more than a year now, it is only recently that the company has agreed to use unionized labor for the construction.

The facility is set to be located in an abandoned lot, where the North Long Island Expressway service road meets Robbins Lane. The 200,000-square-foot property would be rented by Amazon from two developers and reconstructed into a packaging center for the company. The area was previously owned by the Cerro Wire factory, which was reported to have improperly disposed of toxic wastewater on the premises, as well as copper rods and cables. Should construction of the warehouse begin, however, Amazon would not only be creating the warehouse but looking to clean up any pollution with its own funds. The project would create an estimated 550 jobs, between warehouse employees and delivery drivers, not including the dozens hired for the construction.

While new employment opportunities would be more than welcome, many in recent months have been concerned that work at the facility would be redirected to nonunion contractors or laborers outside of the state. Amazon’s commitment to using unionized labor for these jobs has made the facility a much more exciting opportunity.

“We are thrilled to announce that Amazon will be using 100 percent union labor during the construction of their proposed ‘last mile’ warehouse in Syosset,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Nassau IDA Chairman Richard Kessel, and President of the Nassau and Suffolk Building Construction and Trades Council Matthew Aracich said in a joint statement.

The presence of Amazon workplaces on Long Island has been long anticipated, but not always fully realized. Two years ago, as Amazon was deciding where to place its second headquarters, the company chose Long Island City, but Amazon backed out following backlash from critics over tax breaks, community impact, and other issues.

There have already been some opponents to the Syosset warehouse, citing many of the same concerns that were raised during the Long Island City headquarters debate, mainly the worry that Amazon is attempting to skirt taxes. Already the company has requested tax breaks for its Syosset warehouse, to help pay for the remediation efforts. Opponents argue that Amazon does not need tax breaks at this time, as it is the second richest company in the world (Apple Inc. is the richest), headed by the richest man in the world.

But the construction phase of the project proved a win for union labor.

In the same joint statement, Nassau officials said, “We thank Amazon for making a commitment to Long Island’s skilled and experienced union workforce, who have a proven track record of delivering quality work that is completed on budget and with the highest workplace safety standards.”

The facility is set to be located in an abandoned lot, where the North Long Island Expressway service road meets Robbins Lane. The 200,000-square-foot property would be rented by Amazon from two developers and reconstructed into a packaging center for the company. The area was previously owned by the Cerro Wire factory, which was reported to have improperly disposed of toxic wastewater on the premises, as well as copper rods and cables. Should construction of the warehouse begin, however, Amazon would not only be creating the warehouse but looking to clean up any pollution with its own funds. The project would create an estimated 550 jobs, between warehouse employees and delivery drivers, not including the dozens hired for the construction.

While new employment opportunities would be more than welcome, many in recent months have been concerned that work at the facility would be redirected to nonunion contractors or laborers outside of the state. Amazon’s commitment to using unionized labor for these jobs has made the facility a much more exciting opportunity.

“We are thrilled to announce that Amazon will be using 100 percent union labor during the construction of their proposed ‘last mile’ warehouse in Syosset,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Nassau IDA Chairman Richard Kessel, and President of the Nassau and Suffolk Building Construction and Trades Council Matthew Aracich said in a joint statement.

The presence of Amazon workplaces on Long Island has been long anticipated, but not always fully realized. Two years ago, as Amazon was deciding where to place its second headquarters, the company chose Long Island City, but Amazon backed out following backlash from critics over tax breaks, community impact, and other issues.

There have already been some opponents to the Syosset warehouse, citing many of the same concerns that were raised during the Long Island City headquarters debate, mainly the worry that Amazon is attempting to skirt taxes. Already the company has requested tax breaks for its Syosset warehouse, to help pay for the remediation efforts. Opponents argue that Amazon does not need tax breaks at this time, as it is the second richest company in the world (Apple Inc. is the richest), headed by the richest man in the world.

But the construction phase of the project proved a win for union labor.

In the same joint statement, Nassau officials said, “We thank Amazon for making a commitment to Long Island’s skilled and experienced union workforce, who have a proven track record of delivering quality work that is completed on budget and with the highest workplace safety standards.”

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John Caravella Esq., is a construction attorney and formerly practicing project architect at The Law Office of John Caravella, P.C., representing architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, and owners in all phases of contract preparation, litigation, and arbitration across New York and Florida. He also serves as an arbitrator to the American Arbitration Association Construction Industry Panel. Mr. Caravella can be reached by email: John@LIConstructionLaw.com or (631) 608-1346.

Long Island Construction Law does not own this content. This content was created by KATHERINE PLOTAS and was published to the Long Island Press on August 5th, 2021.