On Monday, labor leaders, community partners and top officials representing the governments of Minnesota and Minneapolis announced as their top priority the construction of a new Vikings Stadium to help bring jobs to the area. Early estimates state that a new Vikings stadium could bring 13,000 construction-related jobs and $300 million in payroll to the region:
Bill McCarthy, president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, said, “There is a jobs crisis in our city and our state, especially in the construction trades where unemployment is over 20 percent. We’re united today in proposing a solution to the crisis: building a Vikings stadium in Minneapolis.
“I thank Mayor Rybak, Council President Barbara Johnson and Governor Mark Dayton for their hard work to get the stadium built, and I thank the members of the Minneapolis City Council who already support it. I call on all members of the City Council and the Legislature to support the Mayor’s and Council President’s plan to build this stadium in Minneapolis,” McCarthy continued.
Mayor Rybak put it simply, “The number-one action that the City Council and Legislature can take to lessen the unemployment crisis in the construction trades and create jobs in our city and state is to build a Vikings stadium in Minneapolis. Labor, business and community partners in Minneapolis are united and ready to build a stadium using only Minneapolis’ existing tax dollars and no new taxes.”
Mayor Rybak turned to the scores of construction workers and trainees present. “Are you ready to get to work?” “Yes!” they roared back.
Current plans for the stadium include the use of Project Labor Agreements to create an efficient process that ensures local hiring and diversity standards. Mayor Rybak has already held meetings and made arrangements with local unions in preparation for the project that may include renovations to the Target Center. The stadium plan enjoys the dual support of both the state’s building trades unions and the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce.
McCarthy announced two jobs agreements between the Minnesota Vikings and labor unions:
A project-labor agreement between the Vikings and the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council, which means that unions commit to building the stadium on time, on budget and with no disruptions in exchange for the Vikings’ commitment to use only union labor. McCarthy said, “This is good news for all Minnesotans.”
A letter of intent and a labor-peace agreement between the Vikings and UNITE-HERE, the union that represents concession workers at the Metrodome. These agreements mean that the Vikings will retain all the UNITE-HERE jobs currently at the Metrodome and will allow UNITE-HERE the opportunity to organize the additional concession jobs that will be created at the new stadium.
In addition, Mayor Rybak announced that the City of Minneapolis and the Vikings are in conversation about workforce agreements to set goals for hiring workers from communities and neighborhoods that have been particularly hard hit during the recession and have been historically underrepresented in the construction trades.
“We’ve had success with meeting and exceeding similar goals that we’ve set for other Minneapolis projects, such as Midtown Exchange, Coloplast and Amplatz Children’s Hospital, and we’ll do it again for a Vikings stadium,” Mayor Rybak said.
The success of the PLA used to create Minneapolis’ new baseball stadium, Target Field (Target is a Minneapolis based company), had a major impact on the decision to pursue a similar agreement for the Vikings. The levels of local hire and diversity on the Target Field project were stunning:
Lynn Littlejohn, director of community affairs at Mortenson Construction, told how Mortenson, which built Target Field, set and exceeded aggressive goals for local hiring and subcontracting, including women and minorities. She said that 95% of the labor and more than 90% of the contractors that they used were local. Over one-third of workers at Target Field were people of color and women, and 110 subcontractors on the project were minority- or women-owned businesses.