Hudson, New Hampshire is facing a dilemma that has been faced by several communities across the country: the proposal of an Amazon logistics center. Intended to be constructed upon the Green Meadow golf course, the massive 2.5 million square feet development would negatively impact the town of Hudson in a plethora of ways, including increased traffic, noise pollution, environmental impacts & the fear of declining property values. In addition to these concerns, many Hudson residents believe that the careless and borderline unethical corporate work environment of Amazon simply does not deserve a place in their quiet and beautiful town.
Amazon’s warehouse working conditions have been called into question several times in recent years. From workers being forced to relieve themselves into plastic bottles in order to save time, to unrealistic and physically taxing work quotas, to the firing of workers who protested unsafe conditions and a lack of hazard pay during the initial stages of the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon warehouse conditions are morally unsound at their best. Work in any given Amazon fulfilment center is nothing short of grueling. Laborers are permitted two fifteen minute breaks each ten hour shift, and are often expected to stand on their feet all day long, all while making Amazon’s minimum wage of $15 an hour. The Hudson distribution center would supposedly create 2000 jobs, but these jobs would add little to no value to the town of Hudson. The proposed wages are not livable and employees would have little to no upward mobility at Amazon. As it is currently, the Southern New Hampshire area has no shortage of warehouse jobs in the vicinity.
In early February of this year, the town of Bolingbrook, Illinois, successfully rejected a proposal for an Amazon fulfillment center. Republican Mayor Roger Claar took a stand against the proposed site. “We made it abundantly clear that [Amazon] is not a good fit in Bolingbrook. 1500 jobs that pay $15 an hour - That’s not even a living wage!” Said the mayor. “And it’s ironic that the richest man in the world pays some of the worst salaries”, referring to Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of the company.
To see the disastrous impact that Amazon fulfilment centers have on any given community, Hudson residents need to look no further than the town of Milford, MA. Milford saw an Amazon facility begin operation in late 2016. Following the establishment of the center, the town saw increased traffic due to grid locks on Route 109 & 495, layoffs of workers, a blatant and calculated lack of communication or support from Amazon, and most recently, a cluster of coronavirus cases within their warehouse.
In late 2019, the Board of Selectmen in Milford took to television to voice their concern and frustration with the online retail giant. “It feels like Milford has become a dump site for Amazon”, said Chairman William Buckley. The Town of Milford received hundreds of complaints regarding Amazon’s delivery vans clogging traffic and parking in undesignated spots around the town. When town selectmen requested a meeting with Amazon, the company declined, and the issue has remained largely unresolved.
The stakes for Hudson are high, but it is not a hopeless fight as many towns including Bolingbrook, have successfully rejected their proposals. While Hudson residents continue to fight against this development, many communities around the country continue to cope with the strain Amazon has placed on their communities.