Labor pushes for agreements at proposed LA-area stadium that could become home for NFL's Rams

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Friction between organized labour 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 development group planning to build an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood, roughly 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles. But unions are troubled because the developers have not reached agreements assuring that labour 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.

Christopher Meany, a senior executive with the joint venture designing and financing the project, said in a statement that construction for the stadium and other development on the nearly 300-acre site will be handled by union workers. He also said developers have agreements “regarding labour with … important local unions.”

“We are proud of our commitment to union labour for construction (and) anticipate long-term union jobs after construction,” Meany said.

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, labour 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.