Arena Contractors Fined For Lack Of Detroit Workers

October 14, 2016

Developers of Detroit's Little Caesars Arena have been fined about a half million dollars because they have not met the employment goal agreed upon when the city allowed $250,000 in taxpayer-backed bonds to pay for the construction.

The agreement between Olympia Development of Michigan and the city was that at least 51 percent of the arena workers would be Detroit residents. The Detroit News reports only about 40 percent of the workers at the site live in Detroit. That percentage may be on the high side because of a shortage of skilled trade workers such as electricians.

“Where individual contractors and subcontractors fail to meet the 51 percent Detroit resident requirement, a noncompliance fee is paid with 100 percent of that applied to training Detroiters for skilled-trades jobs,” Portia Roberson, director of the city’s Office of Human Rights, said in statement.

Failure to meet the 51 percent goal has resulted in contractors being fined. Fines levied by the city can go toward an accredited apprenticeship training program that’s selected and approved by the city, and recognized by the building trade and construction industry. The money can also go toward the purchase of tools and equipment for training skilled tradespeople.   

Detroit voters will have the opportunity to approve one of several community hiring target proposals in the upcoming general election.