Labor Leaders Appointed To LA 2024 While Strikes Threaten Paris’ Olympic Bid

la2024smallLos Angeles’ bid for the 2024 Olympic Games forged partnerships with labor unions Wednesday with two new key leadership additions to the Board of Directors.

LA 2024 announced the appointments of Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary-Treasurer pf Los Angeles Country Federation of Labor, and Laphonza Butler, President of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 25, joining union leader and LA 2024 Vice Chair Maria Elena Durazo.

Hicks leads one of America`s largest labour federations, comprised of 300 local unions representing more than 800,000 workers.

Butler, as President of SEIU Local 2015, represents 325,000 in-home caregivers and nursing home workers across California.  She is also president of SEIU California State Council and Vic President of the SEIU International Executive Board, which represents 1.5 million workers across the United States.

Durazo joined LA 2024 in November 2015 and is the Vice President for Immigration, Civil Rights & Diversity for UNITE-HERE, which represents hotel and restaurant workers across the United States and Canada.

LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman said “a united and supportive workforce is critical to delivering a safe, well-run and low-risk Games.”

“By having these close working relationships already in place, we are in an excellent position to deliver on the promises we make to the Olympic Movement about creating an outstanding, personalized Games experience for all participants.”

Last week the International Olympic Committee (IOC) told bids from Budapest, Paris, Rome along with LA that they all may proceed to the next phase of the two-year process.

For Paris, the news came amid labor disruptions planned in the run-up to the Euro 2016 Football Championships which is being hosted across France starting Friday.  Workers are protesting against new labor reforms by the Socialist government and disruptions are impacting transportation and energy services while tourists are arriving for the matches.

In 2005, strikes were held in France coinciding with the IOC Evaluation Commission visit to Paris, then bidding for the 2012 Games that were later awarded to London.

It’s not uncommon for labor unions to leverage fixed dates for high-profile events as a stage for their grievances and to gain a bargaining advantage.  Strikes ahead of the Athens 2004 Games caused inconveniences, and venue delays threatened the Montreal 1976 Games after construction unions walked out during the run-up.

LA 2024 strategic partnerships with union leaders might be key in alleviating these risks.

The IOC Evaluation Commission is set to inspect the four bids in February and March of 2017 and the IOC will elect a winner in September 2017.