Governor Pritzker was there.
County Board President Toni Preckwinkle too.
So were other local politicians.
They were on hand to announce that Amazon was building two distribution centers employing up to 2,000 workers at nearly minimum wage, no union.
One would be built in Markham and the other Matteson.
Both Markham and Matteson are over 80% Black.
As industrial jobs left the city of Chicago so have an astounding number of Black residents since the 1980s. Estimates suggest the number of people gone is over 350,000.
Many have moved to the south suburbs in communities like Markham and Matteson.
Originally Amazon was looking to build a distribution center in the City but wanted subsidies. Mayor Lightfoot put the kabosh on that idea, even as a local alderman announced he had made a deal.
Pritzker says no public money is involved. We shall see.
Yet these are desperate times for workers and the Chicago area has one of the highest Black unemployment rates in the country.
“Amazon’s two new fulfillment centers in Matteson and Markham will serve as an economic engine for Cook County’s Southland,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was quoted in The Sun Times. “I am pleased to welcome these state-of-the-art facilities to Cook County and am grateful for the much-needed job opportunities it will bring to the region.”
Roberto Clack of Warehouse Workers for Justice said, “I understand in the Southland why people would welcome Amazon, but they need to have a sober assessment of what the company represents.”
And the Chicago Federation of Labor tweeted:
“We all want more jobs and more investment in Chicagoland. But these jobs cannot pay poverty wages or treat people like disposable cogs, and low-road employers should never receive public subsidies. Working people deserve decent pay and benefits, with a voice on the job and the freedom to join a union. That’s what we’re fighting for, and we hope everyone will look past splashy press releases and corporate PR to join us.”