PITTSBURGH-- The Green Party of Allegheny County (GPOAC) understands that Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald will submit a proposal tomorrow in attempt to convince Amazon to establish a second headquarters in the Pittsburgh area, as was recently reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Tomorrow is the deadline for municipalities to submit their proposals in response to Amazon’s RFP. Amazon will announce its decision where it will locate its second headquarters in 2018.
GPOAC is a political party with a mission based on four pillars: social justice, democracy, ecology and peace. We are grassroots activists using collective action to affect change at the local, regional, national and international level.
GPOAC believes that all residents must benefit from the resources that this
region has to offer regardless of financial wealth or political status. We support workplace democracy, and the development of new technologies that are ecological and accountable to the communities that support it.
GPOAC urges the Mayor and County Executive to ensure that any proposal submitted doesn’t give away the store. Other cities like San Antonio have decided not to submit proposals because the tax abatements required to entice Amazon to set up shop are simply too high. This would place a heavy burden on Pittsburgh, a city already strapped with an inordinately high percentage of tax-exempt real estate. “I wonder if the incoming tax paying Amazon employees would make up for the property taxes lost to abatements,” said Tim Jones, GPOAC chair.
A USA Today Tech article from January 2017 1 states that “Amazon has a troubling labor history, marred by lawsuits, picketing, grueling work conditions, complaints of management tactics and lower wages.”
According to the article, Amazon pays 15% less on average than the prevailing wage in similar warehouse jobs, uses temporary and on-demand employment to “erode job security”. “Having a company come here with such a poor labor track record could be very disruptive to the Pittsburgh area economy. We should be careful what we wish for,” said Garrett Wasserman, GPOAC Media and Technology Coordinator.
GPOAC calls on Mayor Peduto and County Executive Fitzgerald to require, as a condition for doing business in Allegheny County, that Amazon address its poor labor practices, including but not limited to: providing living wages (above today's poverty-level minimum wage), providing healthcare, improving working conditions, working with union organizers if demanded by employees, and assure affordable housing. We also expect Amazon to pay its fair share of taxes, and invest in our community’s education and child day-care programs.
In addition, an estimated influx of 50,000 Amazon employees could have a destabilizing effect on area property rental rates. Amazon must commit to policies that will spur development of affordable housing in our low-income communities.
We encourage all concerned citizens to contact their local elected officials and let them know these are the basic demands of any business wishing to locate to the Pittsburgh area, including Amazon.
Tim Jones, 412/552-8145
David Hughes, 412/421-4163