Teamsters Oppose Bill for Potential Amazon in Freeport
Memorandum In Opposition Alienation of Freeport Parkland for Potential Amazon Warehouse
(A10002A / S8541A)
May 27, 2022
Dear Members of the New York State Legislature,
Teamsters Joint Council 16, on behalf of 25 local unions and 120,000 workers in New York, strongly opposes A10002A / S8541A to authorize the village of Freeport to alienate and discontinue the use of certain parklands. The legislation concerns Cleveland Avenue Ballfield, in Nassau County on Merrick Road and Sunrise Highway, and would override a local community process and debate about the future of the park and whether it is better used as a community athletics field or an e-commerce warehouse.
The Village of Freeport plans to sell this youth athletics field for development as an e-commerce warehouse, and has negotiated with Amazon as a potential tenant. In April, the Village held a hearing on rezoning the property to an industrial IB designation, among the highest-intensity zoning designations in the Village’s zoning code. Many residents spoke against the project at the hearing, and the board delayed a vote on the proposal. Over 800 local residents have signed a petition in opposition to the plan.
There is active litigation between Freeport Village and the Freeport Union Free School District over ownership of the property. The district has had access rights and uninterrupted use of the property as a sports and athletic field for seventy years. For four generations, children in Freeport have learned football, soccer, field hockey, baseball, and track and field on one of the only pieces of open space in the city. The existence of this easement that the school district has relied on for more than half a century is why the city is resorting to the state legislature to extinguish these rights.
If Amazon succeeds in building this warehouse, it will hurt local workers. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 68 counties where a large Amazon facility was opened, the average compensation for the industry declined more than 6% in the two years after opening. A U.S. Government Accountability Office report from October 2020 found that in the nine states covered, more than 4,000 Amazon employees receive SNAP food assistance. Despite touting millions spent on safety, internal data show that Amazon leaders went to great lengths to hide an ongoing, and worsening, safety crisis at company warehouses across the U.S.
This legislation seeks to circumvent an ongoing and legitimate local government land use decision-making process and related judicial review for a project that will have clear negative consequences for local workers and residents. Teamsters Joint Council 16 strongly opposes A10002A / S8541A and we urge you to table the legislation or vote no this session.
Teamsters Joint Council 16