business news in context, analysis with attitude

Last week, when writing about Amazon’s search for a second headquarters city and the speculation about where it might end up being, I commented, in part:

I have to wonder if many of the emails and stories are missing one point that could be important to Amazon. I think that it will be looking for a state or community that it sees as being in synch with its own political and cultural priorities. That would mean being friendly to minorities and immigrants, and being progressive in its relationship with the LGBTQ community. It would mean a place that is not mired in divisive debates about bathroom access, or about the meaning of confederate statues, or about whether immigrants play a critical role in the country’s growth. It probably means a blue state, or at least a blue community (like Austin) that happens to be in a red state.

Which prompted one MBNB reader to write:

I'm sorry but even after having met you in person and thinking here's a guy I'd like to have a beer with and trade retailer theories with I find myself wanting to unsubscribe.

Perhaps the reason many of your readers (and the ones you published made points similar to mine) didn't mention politics is they're tired of it and don't need to talk about it in the context of stories like this. I get it - we're on different sides of the aisle and perhaps we differ on some things but so do many of my friends and family and we're frankly exhausted with the conversation. Especially in light of Texas and what's about to take place in FL perhaps there are more of us than you may believe that just want to move forward as a nation, a family, a group of neighbors etc. Injecting politics into every conversation simply pushes us apart, not together and perhaps having the luxury of a bully pulpit should cause you to think more about where to inject politics and not.

Was it a fair point to make? Perhaps? Necessary for the story to have it called out? Perhaps not, given most of us thought of that already. Just thinking we all need to do our part to have productive, collaborative conversations and not sure this is one of them - regardless of political or socioeconomic background.

I don’t think I was straining to bring politics into a story where they were not relevant. I think the concerns I listed would be top-of-mind for Amazon in this case … and my job, as I see it, is to think about stuff, sometimes from a different point of view than other people, and then write about it. (I hadn’t seen blue state/red state politics mentioned in any of the stories that I read.) I thought it was a legitimate point and should be made.

I don't think much about promoting only productive, collaborative conversations … I think a lot more about provoking people into thinking about issues in different ways.

I’m sorry if this makes you want to unsubscribe, but I don’t know how else to do my job. But even if you unsubscribe, I’d still like to have a beer with you sometime.

We’ve had a couple of stories and a number of emails about how CEOs from a number of companies were asking President Trump not to dismantle the the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was instituted by President Obama as a way of guaranteeing the children of undocumented US residents that they would not be deported. Subsequently, President Trump announced that the program would be ended, though he gave the US Congress six months to legislate a replacement, and then, several hours later, announced that he would ”revisit” his decision if Congress could not do so.

I think this email speaks to the problems that a lot of companies have:

We can’t find enough people to work in our two factories. Many of our workers are Hispanic, and we would love to hire many more. All of our team members are tireless workers, sticklers to quality, follow guidance and are loyal to the company. If we could hire 15-20 more just like them they could start on Tuesday (Mondays are a bad day to start a new team member).

The candidates we are seeing are problematic: many can’t pass a drug screen, have felony convictions, and often they don’t even show up for the interview, or for their first day on the job. We know a company down the street that has no trouble hiring, and when I asked our HR and Production leads they said it was because almost all of their workers are undocumented. This company has become known as one of the places to go if you don’t have papers. We won’t do that, but it is tempting.
It would seem to make a lot of sense that if companies like ours could bring on workers and help them get the process of documentation started it would be a win-win. The people would be working, they would be paying taxes, and they would have expressed an interest to work within a system, and even become part of it.
I suspect I am naïve about all of this, but the lack of available labor is about to become a crisis for us, and we need solutions.

You don’t sound naïve to me. You sound realistic about an economic issue that is likely to become a much bigger problem, and to which the government only seems to have political solutions.
KC's View: