Concerned residents start petition against upcoming Amazon delivery station
SOUTH BEND, Ind. —- The rumors of Amazon moving to South Bend prompted a group of residents to start a petition objecting the online retail giant’s presence in the area.
On Monday, Amazon confirmed to ABC 57 News that it plans to open its first delivery station in South Bend this year.
Reports surfaced in February about the possible location being located at the southwest corner of Mayflower and Adams Roads.
“I have mixed feelings,” said Jim Hartley, who lives in South Bend. “Amazon is so big but anything that’s good for South Bend is good with me.”
Nate Levin-Aspenson, with Indivisible Indiana, said when the news broke the reaction he heard was overwhelmingly negative. The petition he and others in the community have signed is titled ‘No Amazon in South Bend.’
“It doesn’t seem to be a company that particularly cares for the people who work there or the places where they set up,” said Levin-Aspenson.
Labor, wages, and safety for employees are some of the major concerns noted in the petition. In 2018, reports surfaced of what was described as shocking working conditions inside of one Amazon.com facility.
In the last four years, Amazon has received 42 violations from the U.S. Department of Labor nationwide. Two hours from South Bend, an investigation concluded that an Amazon employee in Plainfield was killed after being struck by the forks of a picker in 2017.
Despite the reports, some people view the move as a positive for South Bend. Steve Guthrie, who lives in the city, said he thinks this is good for South Bend.
The company would not confirm an opening date or exact location of the delivery station. However, reports show a facility on Chet Waggoner Court as a possible location.
This facility is surrounded by other large corporations, which includes shipping giant FedEx. The industrial complex is owned by Great Lakes Capital.
Guthrie said South Bend could use a boost after seeing ‘decades of economic decline.’
“It’s only had about a decade of recovery and that’s just not enough to bring things up to living wage,” said Guthrie.
By Monday afternoon, the petition had been signed by 16 people. It asks for the South Bend Common Council to get involved.
According to the Common Council, Amazon has not reached out to the council at all. Since the proposed location is zoned as an industrial zone, the company might not have to seek approval from the council.
If Amazon requests a tax abatement or re-development funds officials will have to go through the council. The council said no requests have been made.
Levin-Aspenson said the corporation's point of contact has to be the people behind this petition.
“That’s why we’re circulating this petition,” he said. “That’s why it’s important for more people to see it.”
The City declined to comment on this petition.