NEWARK, N.J. –– By Jane Chung, firstname.lastname@example.org
This afternoon, hundreds of New Jersey workers, parents, and community members gathered at Wilson Park in Elizabeth to march toward Newark’s South Ward in a protest against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s secret deal with Amazon that would allow the company to build an air hub at Newark International Airport.
“I am an Elizabeth resident and have worked in our community as a delivery driver for years. I am here today because I am concerned about the impact Amazon’s growth will have on my wages, and also on the air and the streets of our neighborhood. We are here to represent the communities that will be most affected by this deal. And we are here to demand that the Port Authority cannot continue this process without our voices,” stated Anny Gonzalez, Elizabeth resident and member of Make The Road NJ.
Father Timothy Graff of the Archdiocese of Newark also marched with community members, and stated, “We gather again today because we will not stand by injustice. And we will overcome injustice by listening to those most affected by the trucks, the pollution, and the poor jobs. We stand by you and we stand with you.”
The event represents growing opposition to this secret deal:
- Several local elected officials representing communities surrounding the airport, including Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage, and State Senator Joe Cryan have expressed their concern and opposition to the proposed deal.
- Last week, over 75 community members delivered a petition with thousands of community signatures to the Port Authority at its monthly board meeting in opposition to the agency’s controversial plan.
- Just this week, new research was released which suggests that as Amazon rapidly expanded warehousing and delivery in New Jersey, wages in those sectors declined significantly. It also revealed that Amazon is likely the largest private employer in New Jersey today.
“Without good wages and benefits, Amazon workers and their families have very limited options when it comes to securing quality affordable housing, purchasing healthy foods, living in healthier neighborhoods and having access to health care,” stated Amy Goldsmith, NJ State Director of Clean Water Action.
“If Amazon can deliver packages to millions making it one of the wealthiest corporations in the world, it can afford to deliver its workers a family-supporting wage, protect them from harm in the workplace and prevent diesel pollution, flooding and quality of life impacts in the neighborhoods where they operate. Environmental and economic justice are integrally linked – you can not achieve one without the other.”
The planned project would give Amazon a twenty-year lease to build two 250,000 sq. ft. air cargo facilities next to the airport, securing a critical air hub for Amazon as the company quickly ramps up its operations.
Make the Road New Jersey is an advocacy organization that builds the power of immigrant, working-class & Latinx communities to achieve dignity and respect through community organizing, legal, policy innovation and transformative education.
Clean Water Action organizes strong grassroots groups and coalitions, and campaigns to elect environmental candidates and to solve environmental and community problems.
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