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Airport Board OKs Pact to Favor Organized Labor

May 02, 2000

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners unanimously voted Monday to approve an agreement that would favor organized labor in contract awards at Los Angeles International Airport, as well as airports in Ontario, Palmdale and Van Nuys.

Under the agreement, which includes the $80-million modernization of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at the L.A. airport, airport officials promise construction projects will follow state and federal prevailing wage laws, as well as local labor standards, a board of commissioners' spokeswoman said. It remains in effect until at least 2010, she said.

In return, labor officials have promised to keep work on schedule by ensuring that there will be no work stoppages, slowdowns or employer lockouts.

Another element of the agreement calls for contractors to recruit workers and apprentice workers from local communities. Nonunion contractors can be employed for the projects, but they must pay a fee to the respective craft unions.

"This is a benefit to the city of Los Angeles, to the people who use the airport, taxpayers, and to the thousands of construction workers and their families who will be employed on projects at the airport," said Richard Slawson, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles/Orange County Building Trades Council, AFL-CIO.

But Tom Musser, the president of the Associated Builders and Contractors, a national organization of nonunion workers, vowed to fight the agreement, saying it discriminates against workers who do not belong to unions.

The organization will ask the Los Angeles City Council to appeal the Airport Commission's decision, said James T. Ryan, spokesman for the group.

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