Amazon pulls out of deliberate regional air hub in New Jersey after unions and others object

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(GeekWire File Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Amazon’s efforts to grow its operations in the New York area have been thwarted again as the tech giant has pulled out of plans for a cargo hub at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Amazon’s involvement in the project was met with opposition from labor and community groups.

During its much-hyped search for a second headquarters location in 2019, Amazon canceled plans for a 25,000-person office in New York City, blaming elected officials and community leaders who opposed that deal.

The Newark hub hinged on a 20-year lease worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the Times. Amazon estimated that the project would create more than 1,000 jobs.

Industry experts told the Times the location was ideal for Amazon’s package delivery needs in the Northeast, which it now serves with airport facilities near Allentown, Pa.; Hartford, Conn.; and Baltimore.

Huntley Lawrence, chief operating officer of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said in a statement that Amazon and the Port Authority had engaged in good-faith negotiations over the past year.

“Unfortunately, the Port Authority and Amazon have been unable to reach an agreement on final lease terms and mutually concluded that further negotiations will not resolve the outstanding issues,” Lawrence said.

The Times reported that advocacy groups and unions involved wanted a set of concessions from Amazon that included labor agreements and a zero-emissions benchmark at the facility. Amazon has opposed unionization efforts at its warehouse facilities, and was on the losing end of a labor organization vote in Staten Island, N.Y., in April.

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Amazon said in a statement to GeekWire that it was disappointed in the failure to reach a deal with the Port Authority.

“Despite this outcome, we value our relationship with the Port Authority, and we’re proud of our robust presence in New Jersey and look forward to continued investments in the state,” Amazon spokesperson Maria Boschetti said.

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