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Feb
2015
23

Sacrificial Rams: Unions Commit to 24-Hour Work Days, No Overtime Pay to Keep NFL Team in Town

St Louis Rams Building Trades

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Missouri Governor Jay Nixon joined officials from the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council to announce that labor unions have committed to a 24-hour/day, 5 days/week work schedule without overtime to build a new football stadium. This effort could keep the NFL’s Rams in the city. 

Officials estimate that the agreement will save $45 million on the project and moved completion up by two years.

During peak construction 1,500 people would be working on the stadium for a total of 3.4 million work hours.  Speaking at a press conference, Gov. Nixon called the stadium project “transformational” and praised the region’s workers. “The secret to our success is our work force,” Nixon said. “The bigger the job, the harder we work. Together, we’re sending a clear, united message.”

Jeff Aboussie, Secretary Treasurer of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, talking about his organization’s relationship with the business community. “I think it demonstrates how the building and construction trades work with our owners, work with our developers, work with our governmental agencies to try and make a deal happen,” he said.

The new stadium could cost as much as $985 million, but may be the only thing that can convince Stan Kroenke, an investor in a new Los Angeles stadium that will eventually house an NFL team, to keep the Rams in town.  During the press conference, Nixon said that the state takes in $10 million a year in tax revenue from the Rams players’ salaries alone.  The Rams currently have a year-by-year lease due to terms of the deal they signed in 1995 when they moved from L.A. Their departure is allowed if their stadium falls below the top 25 percent of NFL stadiums, using various agreed upon criteria.  

Gov. Nixon, who recently worked a deal with Ameren and the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (“TRRA”) to move part of an infrastructure project in order to free up the land for the stadium, released the following criteria for the proposed stadium:

1. Strong protections for taxpayers and no new tax burden on Missourians;
2. A private financial commitment from the NFL and its local franchise.
3. The new stadium must be held as a public asset – owned by and for the benefit of the people;
4. Construction of a stadium would need to provide good-paying jobs for Missourians;
5. There must be a plan to maximize the ongoing economic value of the existing Dome; and
6. The project must result in the redevelopment of a blighted area that would remain blighted but for the construction of a stadium.

In a statement on his website, the governor added:

“Missouri workers have always been the driving force behind our economic growth, because they show up early, stay late and get the job done.  This project is about more than football and franchises, it’s about revitalizing a distressed area, creating good jobs and expanding economic opportunities for workers and families across the region. From manufacturing next-generation aircraft to redeveloping neighborhoods, this commitment from St. Louis-area labor groups demonstrates once again how Missouri’s skilled, experienced and organized workforce gives us a tremendous competitive advantage.”

The redevelopment proposal, which was announced in January, calls for a 64,000-seat, open air stadium to be built on a 90-acre lot at the edge of the Mississippi River.  

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