As the deadline for Amazon’s HQ2 request for proposals looms, the company is getting some blowback from community organizers around the country.
Leaders of 73 labor, faith and community groups sent an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos today demanding a “People’s RFP” process that requires Amazon to pay taxes and respect local labor and culture wherever it decides to establish its second corporate headquarters.
The letter demands minimum standards for diversity, wages, and investment in local infrastructure in the city that wins HQ2. For example, signatories are asking Amazon to pay all taxes in full to adequately fund public schools, “if you want a highly-educated local talent pool.”
GeekWire has reached out to Amazon for comment. We’ll update this story when we hear back.
Cities across the continent are vying for HQ2, hoping to land the promised 50,000 jobs and billions in investment dollars. But the public RFP process has also drawn some ire. As a massive and successful company that has had a significant impact on many Main Street retailers in these same communities, Amazon is facing backlash for including tax breaks and other incentives in its list of preferences.
That’s the tone of today’s letter, which criticizes the Seattle e-commerce giant for “playing states and localities against each other for maximum public handouts.”
Amazon and its suitors, on the other hand, laud the economic vitality and job creation the tech titan will infuse in whichever community it selects.
Groups like the Partnership for Working Families in Oakland, Calif., Good Jobs First, out of Washington D.C., and Warehouse Workers for Justice in Chicago have signed the letter.
“The things about our cities that make you want to move here are the same reasons many of us live here — we have great systems of higher education, museums, and infrastructure that helps move people and things from one place to another,” the letter says. “But we got that stuff by collectively paying for it, through taxes, and we’re expecting Amazon to pay your fair share if you end up being our neighbor.”
Amazon’s deadline for responses to its RFP is this Thursday, Oct. 19.