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Monday, Jul 15, 2024
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Construction Industry Groups Differ on Chargers’ Stadium Proposal

Two local construction industry organizations have announced conflicting stands on a proposal by the San Diego Chargers to build a $1.8 billion downtown stadium with convention facilities.

On June 1, a group known as Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction issued a statement opposing the project, based on the Chargers’ plan, announced in April, to use only union labor under terms of a pending project labor agreement.

On the same day as the coalition’s news conference, the pro-union San Diego County Building & Construction Trades Council reiterated its April endorsement of the Chargers’ project, based on plans to establish the project labor agreement.

Officials of the anti-stadium coalition said the group consists of non-union contractors, workers, apprentices and contractor associations. The coalition contends that project labor agreements discriminate against workers who decide not to join unions and also raise project costs, and the group plans to campaign against a Chargers initiative targeted for the November ballot.

The pro-stadium construction trades council said project labor agreements benefit the community by ensuring good-paying jobs, career training opportunities and access to healthcare and other worker benefits. The council, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, represents more than 35,000 union workers and has officially endorsed the Chargers’ plan.

An entity officially known as Citizens for Sports, Entertainment and Tourism, with major funding by Chargers Football Company LLC, is currently gathering signatures for a ballot measure asking city voters to increase total hotel taxes from 12.5 percent to 16.5 percent. A city-controlled entity would use proceeds from the increase to fund the bulk of local costs for the hybrid stadium-convention facility proposed for a site in East Village.

If the Chargers’ plan is approved by voters, the team would enter into negotiations with the trade council and its unions on terms of a project labor agreement. However, the status of project labor agreements is in dispute in San Diego.

The Coalition for Fair Employment contends the agreements were banned when city voters approved Proposition A in 2012. The trades council maintains the city is not enforcing the ban because of a state Supreme Court decision that such bans can endanger state funding for local projects.

The Chargers’ stadium project currently does not include the use of state funding.

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