Amazon agrees to use 100% union labor to build Syosset warehouse

The Amazon “last-mile” warehouse going up in Syosset will be built by about 250 workers — all of them members of unions, officials announced Friday.

The $72-million project is among at least nine warehouses that the behemoth retailer plans for Long Island to deliver packages to customers’ doorsteps. Amazon will rent the 204,000-square-foot building in Syosset from two developers.

“Amazon will be using 100% union labor during the construction,” according to a statement from Nassau County and labor officials. “This decision by Amazon is a huge victory for…Long Island’s building construction trades and for our economy.”

The statement was issued by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who is seeking reelection in November; Richard Kessel, chairman of the county’s Industrial Development Agency, which awarded tax breaks to the warehouse’s developers, and Matthew Aracich, president of the union umbrella group Nassau-Suffolk Building and Construction Trades Council.

The announcement follows intense lobbying by the building trades council. At last month’s Nassau IDA meeting, representatives of Local 361 of the Ironworkers’ union expressed concern that some of the warehouse work would go to out-of-state, nonunion contractors.

John Cush, a business agent for the Ironworkers’ union, called on the IDA to rescind the tax breaks granted to developer Syosset Park Development LLC “until Amazon follows the rules.” The tax aid over 15 years is valued at about $8 million, according to an estimate from the Syosset Central School District.

County and union officials, in Friday’s statement, 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.”

An Amazon spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The warehouse will be on the old Cerro Wire property, which has been the subject of multiple proposals — all of which died in the face of community opposition.

Up to 250 construction workers will be employed on the Amazon project, according to its application for IDA tax breaks.

Once the facility opens, 150 managers and package handlers will be employed, earning at least $15 per hour and $60,000 per year, respectively. Additionally, several hundred jobs will be created by the independent transportation companies whose van drivers will pick up packages for delivery, the application states.

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