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Union Agreements To Be Required For Convention Center Contracts

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) with multiple trade councils and labor unions is now required as part of future contracts to operate the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, as determined by a Long Beach City Council vote on February 19. The council also directed city staff to study MOUs associated with convention centers in other cities, and asked the city manager and city attorney to meet with SMG, the center’s current operator, to discuss creating such an MOU.

Specifically, the item authored by 2nd District Councilmember Jeannine Pearce identified the following trade councils and unions to be considered: the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor; Orange County Labor Federation; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 11; the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 36; Teamsters Local 986; and Teamsters Local 848.

“The convention center is a huge economic driver for us in the City of Long Beach,” Pearce said before the vote. “SMG and Steve Goodling [president and CEO of the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau] have done a fantastic job about ensuring that we have a property that is unique and flexible to the needs of convention goers as well as the needs of our city. We want to make sure that across the board we have a skilled workforce that is trained at the highest level, doing the work that allows our convention center to thrive.”

Charlie Beirne, general manager of the convention center, told the Business Journal he was open to discussing the matter and working with the council. According to Beirne, SMG’s current contract to operate the center expires in 2022.

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