Labor friction shadows potential NFL stadium in LA suburbs

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Friction between organized labor and the developers of a potential NFL stadium in the Los Angeles suburbs threatened Thursday to tangle up the project even before construction started.

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is part of a group planning to build an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood, near Los Angeles.

But unions are troubled because the developers have not reached agreements assuring that labor will be part of the project that would create thousands of jobs.

Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Executive Secretary Rusty Hicks said in a statement Thursday the group wants "signed, written agreements" from the developer committing to good jobs for construction and operations at the stadium.

"The developer promises Inglewood good jobs. And, the developers have told us the same thing that they told the (Inglewood) City Council: 'Everything will be OK,'" Hicks said. "But, if there's one thing the NFL Players Association has taught the rest of us about NFL owners, it's that you get it in writing before the game is played."

"We've got enough poverty jobs. We don't need any more," Hicks added.

A developers' spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

The politically powerful unions have been quietly gathering petition signatures in Inglewood that could lead to a local vote on the plan, potentially delaying development of the project. That would seek to override the City Council, which previously endorsed the plan.

The tension in Inglewood is in contrast with a rival stadium proposal in nearby Carson, where the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders are planning a shared stadium if both teams fail to get new stadiums in their current hometowns.

At an event launching the Carson project last month, labor leaders praised the teams for assuring unions would get the prized work.

"We have good commitments that this thing is going to be union from top to bottom," Ron Miller, executive secretary of the Los Angeles-Orange County Building & Construction Trades Council, said at the time.