When Amazon says it’s coming to town, state and local governments roll out the red carpet—and lots of greenbacks, too. In the hope of creating new jobs, these localities have given Amazon more than $1.2 billion in tax breaks, targeted infrastructure improvements, and training grants to bring its warehouses to communities across the country.
But what are working Americans getting in return?
- New Amazon warehouses don’t boost overall employment in the counties where they open, according to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
- As INN has reported, many of these jobs have low wages and substandard conditions, with workers forced to go on public assistance.
No Net Jobs: In spite of hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies, Amazon warehouses don’t increase the total number of jobs in their counties. Instead, they come at the cost of attracting and expanding other companies and attract workers from other industries, such as retail. A better job-creating strategy? Investing in early-childhood education and infrastructure for the entire community.
Low-paying Sweatshops: As the Economist magazine reports, Amazon storage depots drive down local warehouse wages by three percent. All too often, workers are over-supervised, subjected to sweatshop conditions and need Food Stamps to feed their families. As an Amazon worker in Pennsylvania said, “I never felt like passing out in a warehouse and I never felt treated like a piece of crap in any other warehouse but this one.”