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Valley Focus | Universal City

Opposition Grows to Expansion Project

June 25, 1998|JILL LEOVY

A new coalition of labor unions and religious groups has formed to oppose plans to expand Universal Studios.

Calling itself the Coalition for Accountability in the Universal Studios Expansion (CAUSE), the group plans a rally July 2 in front of the Universal City Plaza office building to protest the expansion and the cutting of higher-paid jobs at Universal Studios.

Representatives of the group include the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, the NAACP Valley Chapter, Hermandad Nacional, the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees and the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union.

Their voices will be added to those of nearby homeowners who have opposed the project because of noise and traffic concerns.

Universal Studios plans a 15-year, $3.2-million expansion of their Universal City site.

Offices, hotels and entertainment venues will be added.

An environmental report on the project is still being completed, and the project must be approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Responding to opposition to an earlier larger proposal, Universal Studios reduced the square footage of the plan by more than 40%.

CAUSE contends that jobs created by the expansion will be low-wage service-sector jobs, and it wants Universal to pay "living wages" and provide competitive benefits to all employees.

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