December 15, 2015
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
San Diego CA – The City Council voted 8-1 Dec. 8 to begin negotiations on constructing a hotel, office, and housing complex downtown that is expected to cost almost $400 million.
The proposal drew opposition from UNITE HERE and some Councilmembers because it did not guarantee that workers at its anchor tenants, including a Ritz Carlton hotel and a Whole Foods supermarket, would earn living wages and be able to organize unions without interference. “A vote in support of this project does not comply with what you say should be a living wage in San Diego,” Brigette Browning of UNITE HERE, which represents local hotel workers, told the Council. The City Attorney’s office said San Diego does not have the legal authority to require its $12-an-hour living wage at the project. Cisterra Development, which would build the 39-story high-rise, has agreed to use union labor to build it, so local construction unions backed the project. Councilmember Todd Gloria, who voted yes, said the issues of pay and worker benefits are “not going to go away with today’s vote.” Read more