Chamber of commerce supports Amazon, local union groups don't

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Union groups and No Amazon South Bend say they're against the Amazon facility in South Bend. But the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce says Amazon is good for South Bend.

"It's really more of a statement of unionization, union and non-union, and that's really more of a global issue than it is a South Bend issue. They're just trying to use the South Bend site as an example for that," said Jeff Rea, the chamber of commerce president and CEO.

The International Workers Worldwide, Democratic Socialists of America and No Amazon South Bend all spoke out Friday at the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Michigan Street downtown.

They chose that location because that's where Great Lakes Capital has offices. That company helped bring in Amazon to South Bend.

"We're here because we want to make a statement that we don't want big corporations like Amazon coming into a residential community especially and taking jobs away that are small-business owners, things like that," Rebecca Royce said.

"Amazon also has a history of union busting, so it'll be difficult, particularly here in South Bend, for the independent contractors, because you're not going to be together in a facility; it's going to be really, really difficult for workers to organize," Tonna Robinson said.

Rea, on the other hand, said he sees a lot of good in Amazon here in South Bend.

"We think real positive. This is obviously a tax-paying entity. Its going to employ a significant number of people, and not very often does a company show up that's going to employ over 100 people," Rea said.

He added that Amazon makes South Bend look good.

"When we say Amazon is here and Tire Rack is here and those kind of things, that sort of raises the profile, raises the attention to think, 'Oh, this is a pretty good-sized city if it has an amazon,'" he said.

Amazon says they have plenty of jobs still available and they are posted online.

The Amazon site is at 5445 Chet Waggoner Court in South Bend.