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Pittsburgh residents protest secretive Amazon HQ negotiations

An Amazon logo is seen inside the Amazon corporate headquarters on June 16, 2017, in Seattle, Washington. Twenty cities are currently competing to become the location for the company's second headquarters. (David Ryder/Getty Images)

A decision has not been reached yet on which city will win the bid for the much-hyped new Amazon Headquarters building, but some Pittsburgh residents are already protesting how their city government has been handling the situation.

What is the concern about Amazon?

Residents interviewed by KDKA-TV, a local CBS affiliate, were worried about the impact it would have on their community. Protesters demonstrating against the prospect of Amazon coming to their community gathered outside Pittsburgh's City County Building.

Resident Sondra Cole told KDKA, “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.”

Some protesters were also concerned that Amazon could bring an influx of non-union jobs to the area.

Another aspect of the deal that concerned residents was the secrecy surrounding the city’s negotiations with Amazon.

“Local officials insist that the offer they made to Amazon to attract its second headquarters must remain confidential,” KDKA’s Ken Rice reported.

What are the details of the Pittsburgh bid?

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the city has refused to release the details of their bid to Amazon.

“The city and county should have released the bid in October, when they submitted it to Amazon. They summarily rejected open-record requests, however, so multiple news organizations filed appeals with the Office of Open Records.”

“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,” Brandi Fisher from Pittsburgh United, a local coalition of advocacy groups, told KDKA.

What are the other cities saying?

Pittsburgh is not the only city masking its negotiations with Amazon.

"We aren't gonna really talk about what's on the table," Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Browser told CNBC.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said something similar. "It's a very secretive process. We're obviously bound by confidentiality.”

Pittsburgh is one of 20 finalists competing to be the new location of the new Amazon headquarters. The other 19 are Los Angeles; Denver; Austin, Texas; Dallas; Nashville, Tennessee; Atlanta; Miami; Raleigh, N.C.; Philadelphia; Newark, N.J.; New York City; Boston; Chicago; Indianapolis; Columbus, Ohio; Washington D.C.; Montgomery County, Maryland; several cities in Northern Virginia; and Toronto in Ontario, Canada.


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