PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They chanted, “Whose city is this?” with the response, “Our city.”
Rallying on the steps of the City-County Building, community organizations objected to secret negotiations to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to Pittsburgh.
“We need transparency from the city. We need to know what is in Amazon’s plan, and any plan coming to our region around economic development,” said Brandi Fisher, of Pittsburgh United.
And some speakers were hostile to Amazon, fearing displaced neighborhoods if the company moves in.
“We don’t want Amazon in our community at all,” said Sondra Cole, a resident of Hazelwood. “We are all here because we do not want our families in our community to be displaced. And, the way it’s looking at this point — East Liberty, maybe Braddock, North Side — are being displaced.”
Besides these concerns, others worried that Amazon would bring non-union, low-wage jobs to Pittsburgh.
“We want safe, family-sustaining jobs where workers’ rights are respected and local hires are prioritized,” noted Metisha Cook, of Manchester. “Every job should pay a living wage, providing access to high-quality health benefits and retirement security.”
And some Hazelwood residents, where many think Amazon might locate, want someone committed to current Pittsburgh.
“The illusion is that we need a savior. We don’t need some Amazon savior,” said Dylan Rooke, of the Hazelwood Cooperative Property Guild. “And it doesn’t even have to be Amazon. If Amazon doesn’t come to Pittsburgh or to our neighborhood, we still need to figure out a development practice that works for current Pittsburgh, not future Pittsburgh.”
Since local elected officials won’t answer questions about the Amazon bid, protesters turned to Alexa.
“Hey Alexa,” shouted one protester. “How much in tax breaks and incentives have you been offered to come to Pittsburgh?”
“I’m sorry. I can’t answer that,” replied a fake Alexa. “Would you like to take a break? There’s a Starbucks nearby.”
In a statement, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says Amazon is not being treated any differently than any other company seeking to locate here. And Fitzgerald says if Amazon chooses Pittsburgh, there will be a public process to review all public incentives.