Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced a labor deal for a new downtown arena Wednesday that he says would bring about 3,500 jobs.
Johnson was joined by California Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Sacramento Kings President Chris Granger and Sacramento-Sierra Building and Construction Trades Council President Dennis Canevari, among others.
The group announced the signing of the Community Workforce and Training Agreement, which will oversee the hiring and training of workers on the new arena, to be built where the current Downtown Plaza stands.
Granger told reporters that shovels are expected to break ground next year.
According to the CWTA, at least 60 percent of construction workers and 70 percent of apprentices will be from the greater Sacramento area. Mayor Johnson said the mall would be demolished in August 2014, and construction would begin in December 2014.
Johnson also detailed the “Helmets to Hard Hats” program, which would employ military veterans.
A small group of anti-union protesters were on hand at the Downtown Plaza, on the walkway overlooking the press event.
The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction said the CWTA would create a “monopoly on construction,” and called the deal “costly and discriminatory.”
Johnson said that non-union workers would have a chance to participate in the arena project.
Ian McDonald contributed to this report.