June 9, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
San Diego, CA – A coalition of non-union construction companies announced June 1 that it was opposing a proposed ballot initiative that would raise city hotel taxes to help pay for the San Diego Chargers’ new stadium because the team has guaranteed that it will be built by union labor.
The group, the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, called the project-labor agreement a “kickback scheme” that “discriminates against non-union workers.” Its main backer is the Associated Builders and Contractors, which the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council calls a voice “to promote low wages, bad training, and unsafe worksites.” Tom Lemmon, the Trades Council’s business manager, said the agreement will save the team money and time and support apprenticeship programs that lead to middle-class jobs. The proposed initiative would raise the hotel tax from 12.5% to 16.5% to cover about one-fourth of the $1.8 billion cost of the stadium and a new convention center annex. San Diego banned project-labor agreements in 2012, but a state Supreme Court ruling held that local agencies that prohibited such agreements could not receive state funding. Read more