Amazon

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

News that the Sandow Power Plant outside Rockdale was closing broke on Friday the 13th.

“You would think you could put off till Monday to make that announcement," Steven Garza chuckles. "But that’s how it went down.”

Garza has worked as an electrician at the plant for four years. He and his wife were driving their son to school when he got the call and had to tell her he would be out of a job. 

Jordan Stead/Amazon

While Amazon has been very public about its process of finding a location for a second headquarters, it has asked Austin and the other 100-plus bidders to keep quiet about their proposals.

Amazon.com screenshot

Austin is officially in the race for perhaps the biggest corporate prize ever.

“This afternoon, we formally submitted the Austin-region bid for Amazon HQ2,” Mike Berman, senior vice president at the Austin Chamber of Commerce, said.

On a wall in Greg LeRoy's office is a frame with a custom-engraved wrench and a photo of workers in front of the Diamond Tool and Horseshoe factory in Duluth, Minn. It's from his days helping unions fight plant closings — when he first started digging into the convoluted financial relationship of corporations and local governments.

These days, LeRoy is the guy to call if you want to know about corporate subsidies. Lately, his phone has been ringing about one company in particular: Amazon.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Let’s get this out of the way: Amazon’s second headquarters is not coming here – yet. But the prospect of the e-commerce giant's "HQ2" coming to Austin has invited more than enough speculation.

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