Amazon is building a warehouse in Davenport. The city is spending $3.9 million on road improvements and another $780,000 in infrastructure for the project. Quad Cities DSA strongly opposes this project.
This project was negotiated with the city via a third party called Seefried Industrial Properties. Amazon did not negotiate directly with the city, denying the public an opportunity to provide input into this project. This project will have an enormous impact on our community, and the public got zero input into where, how and why it should be built. Our own city council kept quiet about this deal because they did not want to have to answer such questions about the project. This is extremely undemocratic.
Amazon has operated at a loss for many years just to put many smaller businesses out of business and grow their market share. They succeeded in that, and we have felt it here firsthand in the Quad Cities. It’s hard to even quantify how many businesses we’ve lost due to this monopolistic business practice. Amazon’s tactics first put hundreds of book stores out of business, and the industries impacted by Amazon have only grown as the company has grown. Amazon has already cost our area countless jobs, reduced consumer choices and eroded our tax base. In short: we have already given Amazon more than they could give back to us in any economic development deal.
Recovering a thousand of the many thousands of jobs our area has lost could be viewed as a good thing. But we also have to look at the quality of these jobs, and the impact Amazon’s presence will have on our area. According to The Economist, after Amazon built a facility in Lexington County, SC, the wages of warehouse workers in the entire area dropped by 30%. Amazon is fiercely anti-union, and has even hired Pinkerton agents to surveil their employees and crush any kind of union organizing activity. Work at Amazon is mentally and physically demanding, usually done under surveillance and workers have no job security. Due to all of this, the turnover rate of Amazon employees is 150% per year.
Amazon drivers are under such pressure to meet quotas that they routinely have to resort to using bottles and bags in their vehicle to go to the bathroom. That, by itself, is disgusting enough, but when you consider that Amazon also has put surveillance cameras in their delivery vehicles to monitor workers, it makes the situation all the more disturbing. Drivers can’t even have privacy when they need to relieve themselves. Former Davenport city employee, Roy DeWitt, went to prison not long ago for putting cameras in bathrooms of public housing. The only difference between DeWitt and Amazon is the scope of the impact.
The Quad Cities already have plenty of large, empty spaces and large, empty buildings that already have roads and utilities. There is no need to expand our city’s developed area when our population is barely growing. Urban sprawl like this makes transportation more expensive for people already stretched thin. Building a large facility like this on the edge of town will increase traffic in an area where there is currently nothing around it. If Amazon were to build in one of the existing vacant spaces, it would bring more traffic to existing streets, and benefit existing businesses.
Amazon is a detriment to everyone involved except Jeff Bezos and a handful of other large Amazon stockholders. We should reject Amazon and instead support existing local businesses and citizens.