Yesterday’s big first NFL day was pretty magical. How could it not be, right!? Football’s back.
Not so fast. Many in the labor movement are down on the NFL for their use of replacement referees (or, scabs!) during a referee lockout that is potentially endangering players and certainly driving down wages. Still, several games this weekend, as well as the season opener on Wednesday night, put a highly pro-labor NFL trend on display: stadiums built under worker-friendly Project Labor Agreements.
The $1.8 billion MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ took 4.5 million man hours and was completed without any serious safety accidents. Built under a PLA, the project was actually completed 4 months ahead of schedule.
As the Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD) points out, using PLAs to build stadiums has been a growing trend in the NFL since the late 90s:
Since 1998, 18 NFL stadiums have been constructed; are currently being constructed; will soon begin construction; or have undergone substantial renovations. 10 of those stadiums – in Baltimore, Foxboro, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Green Bay, New York, Pittsburgh, and Seattle – were constructed or renovated entirely under a PLA. In addition, San Francisco’s new stadium is currently being constructed under a PLA in Santa Clara, CA, and the Minnesota Vikings have already stated their preference for a PLA for the construction of their new stadium in Minneapolis.
So, for those keeping score: Since 1998, a whopping 12 out of 18 NFL stadiums have embraced the value of a project labor agreement.
NFL owners often begin their careers as businessmen who build something small into a dynasty, making their use of cost efficient PLAs to ensure future profits an obvious choice. BCTD notes further proof of this natural relationship: large private sector companies have used PLAs as well:
Like numerous private sector entities – from Toyota, to Disney, to Reebok, and to WalMart – the fact that NFL owners are increasingly turning to project labor agreements for their construction needs is proof-positive that PLAs are working for the NFL, and they are working for America.