In an 8-0 vote on Tuesday, August 20, the Long Beach City Council unanimously approved a one-year extension to the city’s current contract with SMG, the operator of the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center. The amendment, which extends SMG’s contract until 2023, came with two conditions: the operator agreed to enter into a labor peace agreement with the Unite Here Local 11 labor union, and to negotiate in good faith, should workers decide to unionize.
SMG already has labor agreements with a number of unions, including the Teamsters and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. After the labor peace agreement has been signed, workers active in the center’s food and beverage operations will be asked to cast their card-check vote on union membership. In a card-check vote, workers who want to be represented by a union cast a signed authorization form or “card.” If a majority of workers within a bargaining unit vote for union representation, their group will be represented by the union going forward.
Unite Here Local 11, represents over 30,000 workers employed in hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas, and convention centers throughout Southern California and Arizona, according to the union’s website. In Long Beach, the union represents hotel workers at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach and the Hotel Maya, among others.
Assistant City Manager Tom Modica noted that a labor peace agreement between the union and SMG was beneficial for the city, given that large conventions were “interested in coming to the city but have questions about the unionization of certain operations.” Making labor peace a requirement for the contract extension served to “protect the city’s interest from any type of work stoppage,” Modica explained.
Mayor Robert Garcia also expressed his support. “I think this is a win-win for everyone,” Garcia said.