Republican mayoral candidate Scott Stone last week continued to press Democratic convention officials and Mayor Anthony Foxx over the number of convention jobs going to unionized labor. Specifically, he questioned so-called project labor agreements that will require contractors to use union labor “to the maximum extent feasible.”
Convention officials last week awarded $7 million worth of contracts to temporarily renovate Time Warner Cable Arena and outfit the Charlotte Convention Center as a media workspace. Convention CEO Steve Kerrigan said the contracts would maximize union labor while still providing jobs to local workers. He said there are no quotas on union participation.
“Steve Kerrigan continues to say they’re going to maximize union labor,” Stone told a handful of reporters outside convention headquarters, according to The Charlotte Observer. “If they’re going to do that, how can they also use local labor when we don’t have a lot of unions here?”
North Carolina, a right-to-work state, has the lowest percentage of unionized workers in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Only 3.2 percent of North Carolina workers belong to unions. Two of the three contracts awarded this week went to partnerships between national and local firms. Charlotte-based Rodgers Builders won the construction management contract with two out-of-state firms. Charlotte’s Neighboring Concepts and an out-of-state partner were chosen as event architects.
“We have repeatedly stated that our intention is to maximize business opportunities for local companies,” Dan Murrey, executive director of the convention host committee, said in a statement. Earlier this month, representatives of Carolinas AGC visited Foxx to discuss a number of issues, including the possibility of using union labor on construction projects, according to CAGC spokesman Dave Simpson.
“Using project labor agreements and possibly using union construction companies cause concerns,” he said, “because North Carolina has a history of being a pro-employee, non-union state.” Read More.