New York City mayor Bill De Blasio on Monday asked New Yorkers not to shop from Amazon, asking instead to “buy from neighbourhood stores.”
Mr De Blasio was talking about recovery efforts for small businesses around the city and said that NYC is committing $11m to the initiative and dedicating over 100 personnel across a variety of city agencies to help them.
Acknowledging that Monday was the start of the Amazon Prime Day, Mr De Blasio said: “Today’s Prime Day — it’s a perfect day not to shop Amazon, it’s a perfect day to keep it local, to buy from neighbourhood stores.”
The NYC mayor also spoke about how shopping local would also support Amazon workers. He said: “While Amazon has gotten richer and richer, their workers have not.” He said even though Amazon is Staten Island’s largest employer but the e-commerce giant has repeatedly blocked workers’ attempts at unionising.
In a statement, Max Gleber, an Amazon spokesperson, said that Amazon “has a strong track record of supporting our people, our customers, and our communities.” The comments came soon after the Mayor’s address. “This is a series of misleading assertions by misinformed or self-interested groups who are using Amazon’s profile to further their individual causes,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mr Blasio also announced the launch of NYC Business QuickStart, an initiative to help New Yorkers start new businesses. He said that this initiative would make “New York City the easiest place in America to start a business.”
He added: “We’ve created a small business concierge. Literally, you want to open a business? You call the city of New York, you get a specific person, a facilitator, someone who’s going to be with you the whole way through to cut the red tape to make it simple, to get you answers and to get the doors of your business open.”
He assured that the respondents will get a guaranteed 48-hour response time. The mayor also committed $11m to the initiative.