Battle Brewing over PLA for San Diego Convention Center Expansion

$550 million project seems headed toward a PLA and nonunion forces are firing warning shots

Plans for expansion of the economic force that is the San Diego Convention Center took a big step forward earlier this month with Mayor Jerry Sanders' release of a common-sense proposal for the largest chunk of financing for the $550 million project. The full funding plan is expected later this year. But a huge threat lurks just offstage – a potential battle between contractors and organized labor over whether the project will be tied to an agreement mandating the hiring of union workers.

Hoping to head off such a project labor agreement, a contractor group called the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction held a news conference back in February to voice its opposition to any agreement that would require all workers to pay union dues, contribute toward union benefit packages and be hired through a union hiring hall. The group also expressed its concern that businessman Steve Cushman, who has strong ties to labor, was tapped as the mayor's point man for the convention center project.

(More on PLAs in San Diego construction . . . )