Seattle arena proposal divides union movement

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 30, 2012 at 5:22 PM

A proposal to build a $490 million sports arena in Seattle's Stadium District is dividing unionized workers in the construction and maritime trades.

Unions representing dock workers and other skilled workers at the Port of Seattle say a new arena will cause traffic delays, threatening the port's competitiveness.

"The machinists members love the idea of a new NBA team and having the Sonics back, but not at the expense of our jobs and the port," said Larry Brown of the Washington Machinists Council.

"We have at least 4,000 people this would put out of business here," said Vince O'Halloran of the Sailors Union of the Pacific.

A group representing Port of Seattle terminal workers said the port is currently negotiating a new lease agreement with the Hanjin shipping line. They said the arena deal could prevent the port from signing the South Korean company to a long-term contract.

Construction workers want the jobs, however, according to Keith Weir of the Building and Construction Trades.

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