GOOD JOBS – RACIAL JUSTICE – COMMUNITY PROTECTIONS
On January 9th, the Worcester Community-Labor Coalition (WCLC) reached an agreement on a Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) with the Worcester Red Sox and the City of Worcester related to the construction of Polar Park.
The Worcester Community-Labor Coalition began its public call for a CBA in July, 2018, announcing its qualified support for the construction of a new ball park, hotels and housing if issues of neighborhood gentrification, local jobs, workforce diversity, environmental concerns, homelessness and affordable housing were acknowledged and addressed. Worcester City Council also voted to support the project with the expectation that a CBA be signed at a future date.
The CBA between the Worcester Red Sox, City of Worcester and Worcester Community-Labor Coalition is the result of monthly and weekly meetings and negotiations over the past year.
“The Worcester Community-Labor Coalition applauds the leadership of City Manager Augustus and Larry Lucchino from the Worcester Red Sox for signing this agreement. This CBA responds to community concerns by providing additional assurances that the public tax dollars supporting this project are also supporting this community.
I want to congratulate our City Manager, the Worcester Red Sox and the five other members of the Worcester Community-Labor Coalition that sat shoulder to shoulder all these months going line by line, revision by revision, to get this CBA done.
We’ve already seen that the ballpark was a great economic development decision for our City. This CBA is the next level. It protects good jobs, the neighborhood, our community, the right to organize a union and it provides opportunities for our young people, making Worcester’s future even brighter.”
Jack Donahue, WCLC Organized Labor Co-Chair
Carpenters Local 336
“We were clear from the start when we said, ‘the ballpark development will directly impact the Green Island Neighborhood. We cannot ignore the needs, hopes and priorities of the women, men and young people that are the true developers of this community.’
The negotiating team for the Worcester-Community Labor Coalition never took its eyes off the prize all these months. Today it feels like we have taken a major step towards protecting Green Island, addressing inequities and strengthening our community.
This is a big deal. The signed CBA assures commitment by the Worcester Red Sox and City of Worcester. The Worcester-Community Labor Coalition is committed to working collaboratively to ensure a successful outcome. More Worcester residents will benefit from the ballpark development because of this CBA.”
Maritza Cruz, WCLC Community Co-Chair
YWCA of Central Mass.
Sixty Worcester-based community and labor organizations signed-on to the WCLC’s original call for a CBA in September, 2018, pledging to support the City Manager’s ballpark proposal if community needs were included in the project’s plans. In part, the statement read,
“Significant public tax dollars have already been spent in pursuit of this ballpark, and tens of millions more are being redirected for land takings, construction roadwork, infrastructure improvements and marketing. Publicly financed sports facilities are not economically beneficial to a community unless there are linkages and commitments to responsible contracting, environmental protection, local jobs, hiring equity and livable wages that support the community.”
Coalition members collectively drafted a community benefit agreement with input from the community encompassing issues of diversity, gentrification, the right to organize, livable wages, environmental protections, neighborhood disruption and responsible contracting. An elected negotiating team comprised of three community and three labor representatives worked with the City Manager since that time to reach an agreement on a CBA. This past week the Worcester Red Sox finished their legal review and agreed to the stipulations within the agreement. The organizations belonging to the Worcester Community-Labor Coalition reviewed the final document with City Manager Augustus on January 9th and voted unanimously to approve the agreement.
The WCLC is comprised of Worcester-based community, faith and labor organizations and was formed in 2012 as an effort to secure a place for community participation in economic development decisions taking place in Worcester.
Economic Development Must Be Community Development