Here’s a press release emailed today (February 19, 2014) by the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction regarding the Project Labor Agreement for the proposed downtown Sacramento Entertainment and Sports Center (an arena for the Sacramento Kings basketball team).
February 19, 2014
Contact: Eric Christen
Sacramento, CA – The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction is demanding that the Sacramento Kings ownership and the Sacramento-Sierra Building and Construction Trades Council immediately release to the public a copy of an alleged Project Labor Agreement for the proposed Kings Arena. It is reported that construction companies will have to sign this contract with unions as a condition of building the proposed $447 million publicly-subsidized Entertainment and Sports Center.
“The Project Labor Agreement now plays an important role in the executive and judicial operations of the City of Sacramento,” said Eric Christen, executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, a statewide organization that supports fair and open bidding competition on public works projects.
“When will citizens get to see it themselves? When will the city’s political leadership have a chance to review this backroom deal? Why aren’t community leaders interested in verifying Mayor Johnson’s relentless claims about the wonders of this union agreement?” Christen adds.
“I’m guessing there is something embarrassing in that union deal,” said Christen. “The Kings have to suppress it, just like they suppress a public vote on the arena subsidy.”
Beyond the mere fact that a Project Labor Agreement is imposed on a public works project receiving a $258 million public subsidy, the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction provides three examples to show why the Project Labor Agreement is a matter of public concern:
- Mayor Kevin Johnson held a press conference on September 4, 2013 to announce the Project Labor Agreement. (The ill-fated press conference, coordinated by the elite Mercury Public Affairs firm, backfired when opponents of the backroom union deal held their own impromptu press conference immediately afterwards.)
- At the State of the City address on February 12, 2014, Mayor Johnson extensively cited alleged benefits and conditions of the Project Labor Agreement, including a comment about a provision for homeless people and convicted criminals to build the arena.
- Unions and community organizations filed a brief in court on February 14, 2014 in support of the City of Sacramento’s position that a petition for a public vote on the arena subsidy failed to qualify for the ballot. The basis for submitting that amicus brief is the alleged Project Labor Agreement.
A public records request submitted by Kevin Dayton of Labor Issues Solutions, LLC to the Office of the Mayor on October 16, 2013 failed to uncover the Project Labor Agreement, although it revealed correspondence about the deal between the mayor’s office, union representatives, and personnel of Mercury Public Affairs, an elite public relations firm working for the Sacramento Kings ownership. Dayton’s public attempts to obtain the backroom union deal and expose it have provoked mockery and derision from supporters of the Kings arena $258 million public subsidy.
“The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction had to sue the City of San Diego in 2013 to wean the San Diego Convention Center Phase 3 Expansion Project Labor Agreement out of the hands of the wheelers and dealers,” said Christen. “In the process, we also obtained the actual union deal and the complete list of political payoffs to unions from the San Diego Mayor’s office.”
Proof We Mean Business – Lawsuit Coughed Up a Union Deal in San Diego in 2013
2013 Lawsuit Against City of San Diego to Obtain Secret Project Labor Agreement:
Secret Convention Center Union Deal Revealed in Private Email of Chief of Staff to Mayor:
We Got It: The Secret Project Labor Agreement for San Diego Convention Center: