The 2028 Olympics and Paralympics will once again put Los Angeles on the world stage, but a local union wants to ensure events create well-paying hospitality jobs, encourage the hiring of black workers and preserve affordable housing in the city.
The city recently published a draft Olympic Games agreement that it plans to sign with the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and LA28, the non-profit association responsible for financing, organizing and delivering the 2028 Games. Unite here Local 11 says the plan – subject to city council approval – has been long in coming and lacks details.
“The proposals are devoid of any concrete commitment to workplace standards, and its vague gestures in favor of ‘diversity’ and ‘opportunity’ fall far short of a commitment to good jobs that support the family,” the union said.
The Local Hiring Program section of the Games deal says LA28 will create a workforce development program to ensure the local Olympic workforce is “fully representative of the diversity of Los Angeles ”.
The program would promote the hiring of workers from “communities historically under-represented in the workforce or facing barriers to employment,” says the draft agreement.
Unite here Local 11 filed a petition in Los Angeles Superior Court last month to seek clarification on the city’s plans for the games – the plans, they said, were shrouded in secrecy with virtually no public input.
The action targeted the city of Los Angeles and LA city councilor Mitch O’Farrell, who chairs the city’s committee on events.
In a recent statement, O’Farrell said the key elements he was looking for include “local rental arrangements, broad involvement of small businesses, a thoughtful and inclusive approach to arts and culture, policies for ‘comprehensive insurance and protections against environmental impact “.
Dan Halden, spokesperson for O’Farrell, said the draft agreement will be discussed in an ad hoc committee when it is placed on the city council’s agenda.
“I cannot speculate on the outcome of any changes, or the lack of changes, since the discussion has not yet taken place,” he said.
The city’s ad hoc Olympic committee is due to meet on Monday, November 29.
Unite Here is also concerned that LA will worsen the area’s affordable housing shortage during the Games by converting homes and apartments into short-term rentals through an official partnership with Airbnb.
The draft deal does not deal with housing, the union said, despite the city already finding itself in the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis.
“My biggest fear here is that we are facing the same housing relocation issues, bad jobs and security issues here that all modern Olympics have created,” said Kurt Petersen, co-chair of Unite Here Local 11. “I fear there will be a huge deficit that the city will have to pay.
Reports from Tokyo this summer linked the 2020 Olympics to the demolition of public housing for elderly residents, as well as the removal of homeless people from parks and the increase in the number of coronavirus cases.
Although official figures have not yet been released, it is estimated that the The 2020 Olympics will cost Tokyo $ 15 billion which will mainly be paid by Japanese taxpayers, the union said.
Preparations leading up to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics also had an impact on local housing, Unite Here said, as the city demolished 2,000 public housing units to build the Olympic Village.
In April 2019, LA28 announced a updated budget for the privately funded Olympics, which are now expected to cost around $ 6.9 billion. This includes a contingency fund of $ 615.9 million to cover potential cost overruns.
The games are expected to generate $ 2.5 billion from sponsorships and nearly $ 2 billion from ticket sales and venues. Additional revenue from licensing and merchandising, contributions from the International Olympic Committee and other sources of income is expected to bring total revenue to nearly $ 6.9 billion, which is a proposal for balance, according to InsideTheGames.biz.
The draft agreement addresses a variety of other issues, including advancing the city’s goals for zero-carbon transportation and a Youth Sports Partnership Agreement. Other elements include accessibility to events for people with physical disabilities, an arts and culture program that promotes equity and inclusion of local artists, producers and cultural providers, and transparency regarding the details of the event. final agreement of the Games as events draw closer.
Los Angeles was last on the world Olympic stage when it hosted the 1984 Summer Olympics.
Unite Here attorney Zoe Tucker said the union had additional security and police concerns when the 2028 Games arrived.
“These events have a history of increasing budgets for police and surveillance of poor populations,” she said.