KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Labor union leaders say an agreement drafted by Edgemoor for construction of the new KCI terminal doesn't do enough to protect workers.
The labor harmony agreement drafted by Edgemoor exempts certain contractors from its terms, specifically women and minority-owned businesses with contracts less than $15 million. Because those contractors are exempt from the agreement, the workers can't bring forward grievances.
"We want to make sure that all workers at the airport project are going to be protected, that if there's an issue on the job site, there's a grievance procedure that can be in place to handle those grievances regardless of their union membership," Dave Wilson, a spokesman for the Carpenters Union in Kansas City, said.
In the Edgemoor agreement, the exemption is described as a way to "ensure adequate involvement of M/WBE contractors on the project."
Edgemoor declined an on-camera interview but told 41 Action News its team is willing to continue negotiations with the unions until an agreement is reached.
In the meantime, union leaders for building trades have come together to draft their own community workforce agreement. Their proposal gets rid of the exemption for women and minority-owned businesses, meaning all contractors on the project would be covered by the agreement.
"Kind of where we are right now is the ball's in their court," Wilson said of the Edgemoor team, which received the union proposal on Friday.
For workforce development, both proposals include a pre-apprenticeship program facilitated by the unions and at their expense. Graduates from the program will then join the unions' apprenticeship programs. In the Edgemoor labor agreement, the exempt minority and women owned businesses must participate in training elsewhere.