To the Editor: FreshDirect is not Mott Haven’s road to a better life

FreshDirect wants 1,000 more trucks in the South Bronx every day, which means 1,000 more cases of asthma each year and 1,000 more cases of cancer each decade due to pollution from the added fumes. FreshDirect multi-millionaire corporate executives want $90 million in corporate welfare (taxpayers money).

The Constitution outlaws the corporate use of state land. Prime waterfront property can instead be converted into parkland like Riverside Park in Manhattan or waterfront parks in Brooklyn and Queens.

To the FreshDirect workers who showed up at Hostos Community College to speak out on behalf of your employer: good luck, because you all are going to be at Ground Zero for asthma and cancer in the Bronx, at an 800% increased risk for both.

FreshDirect and Democratic Party politicians want the deal so that multi-millionaire corporate executives can make more money and the politicians can get more corporate “donations.” They want 1,000 more coffins to come into the Bronx each decade.

FreshDirect and the politicians claim that 1,000 jobs will be created. That’s a lie. Jobs will be lost at local brick & mortar bodegas, delis and supermarkets. Those are the 1,000 jobs that will be “gained” at FreshDirect’s Internet food business.

That’s a net gain of zero jobs.

Dozens of Mott Haven residents spoke out at Hostos Community College Monday night, saying we don’t want more truck pollution, asthma or cancer, and we don’t want to hear the lie that 1,000 jobs will be created. We don’t want more corporate welfare and we don’t want the Constitution broken so that a few greedy corporate executives can make even more money for themselves.

Make a public park instead and let the people who work at local food stores feel more secure in their jobs.

Instead of FreshDirect’s starting salary of $8.50 an hour, or its median salary of $10.50 an hour, the state should raise the minimum wage to $17.50 plus annual cost of living increases. Employees everywhere should be guaranteed six weeks of paid time off each year. Health care should be available for all, regardless of job situations. We can secure a decent pension for all by raising the Social Security / SSI minimum to $3,000 a month plus annual cost of living increases.

Together we can achieve full employment, a dignified minimum wage, a clean environment, fair taxes, universal health care and a good economy for all.

William Edstrom was the 2014 Green Party candidate for the US House of Representatives’ 15th Congressional District.