Friday, 09 November 2012 09:21

San Diego, Unions Reach Agreement On Convention Center Expansion

Labor groups have agreed to drop out of lawsuits against the Convention Center expansion after coming to agreements regarding worker safety, local hiring and other issues. This does not mean all litigation against the project is done. In February a judge will weigh in on whether the city's financing method for the expansion is legal.

But San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders said the agreement with labor is an important development.

"What this means is we're that much closer to getting this project done, getting a shovel in the ground, and getting 4,000 people to work immediately and then 7,000 long-term," he said.

Sanders stressed that San Diego has not entered into a Project Labor Agreement with the unions, which is illegal. He said any hiring or wage agreements were worked out privately between the project contractor and the unions.

Lorena Gonzalez, with the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, said the agreement has been in the works for a while.

"All the little pieces kind of came together finally," she said. "And this is going to be a good project and we can support this project and know that, as we move forward in San Diego, we're going to have a new look at the tourism industry."

The unions have also agreed to support the expansion in front of the Coastal Commission, which will need to grant approval before the project can go forward. The expansion is expected to take about 33 months to build and is scheduled to be complete in 2016.

By: Katie Orr

KPBS San Diego