Community Activists in “shortlist” cities to Amazon: Negotiate with us, if you want to bring in HQ2

April 10, 2018 -- Heather Appel

April 9 - Activists from cities that have been placed on the “shortlist” for Amazon’s second headquarters will launch a series of actions this week, demanding that the company negotiate with communities that will be impacted by its effects on jobs, housing and public services. 

“The communities we work with are income insecure, underpaid and we live in a region that does not value us or our contributions. We are concerned about being priced out of our neighborhoods as we see incentives going to developers and sweet deals for Amazon and any other companies of privilege  that take advantage of our southern hospitality, low wages and good weather,” said  Deborah Scott, Director of Georgia STAND-UP, who will host a town hall meeting in Atlanta on April 12th. 

Community activists from over 130 organizations released an open letter to Jeff Bezos last fall, calling on the company to provide key community benefits around jobs, investments in public services, and transparency in the negotiations process. Coalition member Good Jobs First released a report last week, showing that cities failed to be transparent about proposed economic development deals with Amazon that could run into the billions of dollars. 

“Pittsburghers deserve a voice when it comes to our city growing and attracting big companies. I’m happy to have more quality local jobs and new technology come into the region—but development impacts my neighborhood every single day, in every way. Families like mine helped build this city, and we want to make sure it remains ours,”  said Saundra Cole, a resident and community activist.

"We're challenging Amazon to come to the table with community members and make real guarantees around job quality, preservation of existing neighborhoods, and investment in the public services that keep our cities running," said Partnership for Working Families Executive Director Nikki Fortunato Bas. "What you see around the country is people rejecting the notion that 'any job is a good job,' and saying 'We are worth more.'" 

“Amazon continues to destroy and displace jobs all in the name of convenience and innovation, and yet cities are rolling out the red carpet for the chance to host Amazon’s second headquarters/HQ2,” said Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs With Justice, a member of the Our Neighborhoods, Our Future coalition. When a corporation treats working people as expendable, don’t expect us to jump at the chance to pick up the tab for subsidizing a billionaire like Jeff Bezos.”