There’s no start date, or a final price tag.
But when construction of the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport does begin, it will be without threat of strikes or other labor turmoil, union and developer representatives said Thursday.
Geoffrey Stricker, managing director for the developer Edgemoor, told the City Council’s airport committee that it has reached an agreement in principle with construction trade unions. It includes a “no strike” clause and a provision for non-union firms to bid for a limited amount of work on the billion dollar-plus project.
“We have come up with a framework that has been agreed to,” Stricker said. “We think it is a great deal and a great win for Kansas City and the team.”
“There’s an agreement in principle,” said Dave Wilson, spokesman for the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters’ Regional Council.
The pact ends more than six months of often contentious talks between unions and the consortium of engineering, design and construction firms headed by Edgemoor. Labor leaders had been adamant on an agreement that allowed for only unionized firms to work on the project.
Edgemoor maintained that it could not meet its pledge to the city of a 35 percent participation rate for women and minority-owned firms. According to the city’s human relations department, only about half of the city’s approximately 640 certified women-and-minority-owned companies use unionized employees.
The sides agreed to set aside five percent of the project’s total man-hours for bidding from non-union firms. Total hours will run into the hundreds of thousands, if not over a million, Stricker said.
Both sides recognized that time was running out. Lack of a labor harmony agreement could complicate Edgemoor’s ability to secure financing and close on the project later this year.
Unions are looking for a strong minority voter turnout to defeat Proposition A, the so-called right-to-work law, on the August ballot. Maintaining a position seen as hostile to minority contractors was clearly not in their interest.
The agreement also includes provisions for a labor-management council and pre-apprenticeship training programs.
Other key issues surrounding the new terminal remain in flux.
Edgemoor said last month that it had set October 2022 as an opening date, at a cost of $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion. The money will come from airport revenues, not tax funds.