SACRAMENTO NEWS

Sacramento - Sacramento area unions will be running a victory lap today as they break ground on the new $400+ million Sacramento Kings Arena at 11:30am in downtown Sacramento. Why? Because the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) they forced the owners to sign using environmental extortion will govern who can work on the project all but guaranteeing non-union workers, apprentices, and contractors are discriminated against. 

"The unions have achieved quite a victory here, one that allows their non-competitive trades to bid this project without the worry of non-union competitors actually beating them out for the work." said Eric Christen, executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC). "When you can use the threat of environmental extortion using the CEQA process as shameless as these union bosses do and then get rewarded for it you have really achieved something."

For more than a year the Kings Arena PLA was sought after by CFEC and others who believed that a document covering a project, more than half of which uses public monies to build it, should be public. But the City of Sacramento and Turner Construction, no doubt embarrassed by its exclusionary provisions, played a game of keep away until just last week when CFEC attained a copy of it. 

When you click on the Arena PLA you will see that it is standard PLA fare including these key provisions: 

  • The Arena PLA requires non-union companies to pay their workers' health and welfare benefits to union trust funds, even though these companies have their own benefit plans.  Companies thus have to pay benefits twice: once to the union and once to the company plan.  Workers never see any of their benefits sent to the unions unless they decide to leave their non-union employer and remain with the union until vested. Worse, contractors could now be held liable for union trust funds that are underfunded.
  • The Arena PLA requires non-union companies to obtain their workers from union hiring halls.  This means that a non-union company has to send its workers to the union hiring hall and hope that the union sends the same workers back. In addition, this provides unions with the opportunity to dispatch "salts" (paid union organizers) with conflicts of interest in employment to non-union companies. 
  • PLAs require non-union companies to obtain apprentices exclusively from union apprenticeship programs.  Participants in state-approved non-union apprenticeship programs cannot work on a job covered by a PLA.  This means that young people enrolled in non-union apprenticeship programs can find themselves excluded from work in their hometowns.
  • Non-union workers must pay union dues and fees or join a union.

CFEC and others who stand by the rights of all workers, apprentices and contractors look forward to area media finally pointing out not only how this PLA came about but what it specifically says and what it does to those who aren't favored by union special interests. 

Sacramento - Sacramento area unions will be running a victory lap today as they break ground on the new $400+ million Sacramento Kings Arena at 11:30am in downtown Sacramento. Why? Because the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) they forced the owners to sign using environmental extortion will govern who can work on the project all but guaranteeing non-union workers, apprentices, and contractors are discriminated against. 

"The unions have achieved quite a victory here, one that allows their non-competitive trades to bid this project without the worry of non-union competitors actually beating them out for the work." said Eric Christen, executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC). "When you can use the threat of environmental extortion using the CEQA process as shameless as these union bosses do and then get rewarded for it you have really achieved something."

Ian McDonald

March 6, 2014 

There’s been standing room only for Kings’ games, but Thursday was the first standing room only crowd for those who want to get in the game of building a new throne for Sacramento’s NBA team.

They’re contractors – passionate about what they do.

We have reached the extortion phase of our program.

Principled, albeit misguided, opposition to the downtown arena has been replaced by people with outstretched hands in search of cash – lots of it.

They want millions of dollars and are going about it in a time-tested way in our state – by using the California Environmental Quality Act as cover for a shakedown.

Concerned the downtown arena does too much to benefit the Sacramento Kings and not enough to benefit the city itself, the Sacramento Coalition for Shared Prosperity has filed a lawsuit against the environmental impact report for the project.

Attorney Don Mooney, who filed the suit Thursday in Sacramento County Superior Court, said issues such as traffic and housing just didn't get the attention in the EIR that they deserve.

"This was a last recourse," he said.

Rebuffed by a judge, opponents claiming the city of Sacramento gave the Kings a "secret subsidy" for the new downtown arena vowed Friday to continue pressing their lawsuit.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley on Friday dismissed a lawsuit by three citizens challenging the arena term sheet approved by the City Council last year. His reasoning: The term sheet wasn't binding. Frawley had indicated a day earlier he was going to toss out the suit.

The citizens' lawyers, Patrick Soluri and Jeffrey Anderson, said they will amend the suit, this time targeting the binding, definitive agreement the council approved Tuesday. The agreement calls for a $255 million public subsidy for the new arena at Downtown Plaza.

Sunday, 25 May 2014 03:41

What's next after arena approval?

With the downtown arena approved at last, progress can go from documents and blueprints to cranes and big equipment. Here are the next benchmarks to look for:

By the end of May: Preliminary demolition to begin on eastern end of Downtown Plaza

July: Visible demolition of mall to begin. No public event scheduled as of yet.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 20:53

Not OK on K Street

Sheila Finch is a survivor of the K Street experiment. She owns Alley Cuts hair salon, just across Seventh Street from Downtown Plaza.

Bites talked to her just days ahead of the final vote on the Kings arena plan and the beginning of demolition of the mall. The city still hadn't contacted Finch about how the arena work would impact her business. Nothing about street closures, or foot traffic, or dust and debris. "No communication at all," she said.

Finch's neighbor Mike Doyle, who owns the watch-repair shop next door, was frustrated, too. "They haven't been telling us anything. Just some basic information would help us prepare."

With City Council approval behind them, the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday launched what they say will be a fast-track effort to build a modern arena in the heart of downtown Sacramento. But, as has been the pattern in Sacramento's long-running and convoluted arena drama, the team and city may yet have a hurdle to jump. A small group of deal opponents says it is organizing what appears to be a late-hour effort to stop the project.

Local attorneys Patrick Soluri and Jeffrey Anderson say they hope to form a political action committee in the next few days and launch their own fast-track project: a petition drive to bring the city arena subsidy to the voters. The city, they say, ignored the will of the people.

It was unclear on Wednesday what the group would need to do to put the arena deal on the ballot, or whether it even has the right to petition for a vote on the $477 million deal for a new arena at Downtown Plaza. City officials and an election law expert said their reading of state election law shows opponents have very little room to mount a challenge.

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