While Amazon is not named in the “interim zoning controls” on “proposed Parcel Delivery Service uses” the supervisors approved Tuesday, it's crystal clear they’re playing hardball with Amazon’s plans for a Mission Bay delivery warehouse.
When Amazon announced some 15 months ago that they were buying up the Recology site at Seventh and Berry Streets for $200 million, it was fair to assume that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors was going to extract another pound of flesh out of the extravagantly profitable company whose stock is trading at more than $3,000 a share. Then two weeks ago, Amazon announced a 20-1 stock split, which is a complex proposition, but the gist of it is that Amazon will likely become even more extravagantly profitable.
#ICYMI @Amazon hits ⏸ on a proposed last-mile warehouse in San Francisco after Supes unanimously approve an 18-month moratorium on all new parcel delivery services in the city - the latest salvo from organized labor. https://t.co/1N3dBqUVZ3 via @SFjkdineen pic.twitter.com/ntqESI7AKT— Rachael Myrow (@rachaelmyrow) March 23, 2022
That stock split may or may not have played a role in the supervisors unanimously approving an 18-month moratorium on parcel delivery sites, as reported by the Chronicle. The legislation does not mention Amazon or the Seventh Street site, but it’s pretty obvious who they’re targeting here. And Amazon, for now, is agreeing to abide rather than threatening lawsuits.
“We will continue to evaluate our long-term use of the site, and in the short-term we will work with our neighbors to look at ways to use the location to serve the community,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to the Chronicle.
According to the Chronicle, organized labor groups held a rally in support of the moratorium before the vote, “With an 18-wheeler emblazoned with a ‘Teamster’ banner as a backdrop.”
#Teamsters power in San Francisco! Joint Council 7 is proud to co-sponsor @shamannwalton’s critical legislation to stop Amazon’s intrusion into our communities until they agree to actually uplift our communities—meaning good-paying, union jobs that benefit us all! pic.twitter.com/nkxMSNfava— Teamsters Local 2010 (@IBTlocal2010) March 22, 2022
Free market die-hards will complain that the supervisors are holding back progress, but…. Have you ever walked past the Amazon delivery warehouse on Toland Street? There are exactly two types of vehicles in that area — decrepit RVs that people are living in, and super-slick new Amazon delivery vans. The smiley Amazon logo on the vans only rubs the staggering income inequality in your face even more. There could be ways to legislate around the Seventh Street site becoming a similar scene.
“If you are going to come into our neighborhoods you are going to talk to the people in the neighborhood,” Supervisor Shamann Walton, who proposed the moratorium and whose district contains the Seventh Street site, told the Chronicle. “You are going to provide them with community benefits.”
Walton does not specify what benefits he is looking for, but higher wages and union jobs would be a fair assumption. After all, earlier in the day the man gave a speech in front of a giant “Teamsters” sign.
"Many of these fights, including the new push for legislation in San Francisco, are being led by the #Teamsters who, alongside other activists, have been declaring victories in struggles to block Amazon warehouse plans and tax breaks." https://t.co/MaU4q0p38U @LaurenKGurley #1u— Teamsters (@Teamsters) February 15, 2022
So in effect, the board is siding with the labor unions in a larger national fight over Amazon unionization. Yes, this project is delayed, but I doubt anyone’s going to see delays in their Amazon Prime deliveries. The board can always rescind the moratorium, this is all a negotiating tactic.
And Amazon is still at the bargaining table, willing to negotiate, and not boo-hooing that can’t get their way so they might run off to Austin, Texas. There will not be a same-day delivery on a compromise here, but this may be resolved in less than 18 months.
Image: View of an Amazon delivery van with an Amazon Prime logo parked at an apartment complex in downtown Chicago, Illinois, April 2019. (Photo by Interim Archives/Getty Images)