- Representatives from 85 organizations in 23 states have come together to pen an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, ahead of Thursday's deadline for HQ2 bids. The letter acknowledges Amazon's 8-page request for proposals that listed desired characteristics for contenders, and the organizations offer their own list of expectations for Amazon.
- The expectations fall under three main categories: jobs, building and sustaining great communities, and accountability and transparency. Each category has sub-categories that delve deeper into the issues and lay out the desired actions from Amazon.
- The letter says the people who live in cities will feel the impacts of HQ2, and the signing organizations want to work with Amazon to build a headquarters that works for everyone while ensuring that cities retain their positive qualities and character. "We're expecting Amazon to pay your fair share if you end up being our neighbor," the letter reads.
Cities across the country quickly organized teams to devise proposals to lure Amazon as soon as the e-commerce giant's surprise news about the new headquarters broke last month. Although some viewed the RFP as an arrogant move — especially the list of desirable city characteristics, including tax incentives for Amazon — it's hard to ignore a move that would bring up to 50,000 new jobs and economic growth to an area. From the start, community advocates urged municipalities to carefully explore both the positive and negative implications of bringing the mega-business inside their borders, some of which were learned from observing changes in Seattle, Amazon's current headquarters.
The community groups listed a variety of requests of Amazon, including transparency, forgoing tax breaks, supporting affordable housing initiatives and respecting the rights of workers at all levels of employment. The organizations believe the collaboration would help to foster Amazon's sustainable growth while preserving the chosen community and protecting it from some of the negative consequences HQ2 could cause.
National organizations and local organizations from 23 states — such as Chicago Teachers Union, Jobs with Justice, Working Families Party and SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana — have added their support to the letter. While Amazon can build where it chooses and operate how it wants, within reason, the letter makes it clear that cities want a partnership that allows them to be involved in the HQ2 plans to ensure a mutually beneficial collaboration.