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San Diego Convention Center Expansion Set to Move Forward Following Inclusion of Local Hire, Veteran Subcontracting Stipulations

via Fentress Architects

Labor unions have agreed to drop their legal opposition to the planned expansion of the San Diego Convention Center after prime contractor Clark/Hunt agreed to a labor agreement that will “ensure consistent benefits for both union and non-union subcontractors.”

Unions were concerned that local workers would not be able to work on the major project because of the city’s recent passing of Proposition A which banned Project Labor Agreements (PLAs). Clark/Hunt nonetheless referred to the deal as such in a statement:

“The PLA will establish consistent terms and conditions of employment for all subcontractors at the project, which will be open to both union and non-union firms,”

Officials went out of their way to explain that this is not a Project Labor Agreement per se, though. Moreoever, despite claims to the contrary by anti-union organizations such as the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) which helped push Prop A through, this labor agreement, like many PLAs, employs both union and so-called “merit shop” subcontractors.

San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council CEO Lorena Gonzalez worked on the negotiations and announced that their unions will end all legal opposition as a concession. Labor’s main concern was local hire, that the region’s workers would be left out of a massive project that could stimulate the local economy. She told the San Diego Union-Tribune,

“One of my big issues was local hire, and all of that has been dealt with on the private agreement between the contractor and the trades. We have a commitment that people hired on the project will be hired primarily from San Diego, if available.”

Clark/Hunt has committed to ensuring that 40 percent of subcontracted work go to “local small businesses, disabled veterans businesses and federally certified businesses.”

With this hurdle out of the way the deal must now be approved by the California Coastal Commission. If all obstacles are cleared in time ground could be broken as early as Spring 2013. Construction will likely take 33 months.


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