Los Angeles Olympics Contract Sought by Labor Union in Lawsuit

Oct. 22, 2021, 11:54 PM

The city of Los Angeles should be forced to disclose its proposed plans for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games before signing an agreement with the nonprofit organization responsible for the event, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in California state court.

Unite Here Local 11, a labor organization, alleges Los Angeles plans to sign a “Games Agreement,” which will outline the city’s vision for the games, by Nov. 1. The suit says the games will have an immense impact on Los Angeles and its residents, but that the public knows very little about the city’s plans for security, transportation, labor, housing, or other critical aspects of the games.

“In order for the public to have basic democratic input into a decision-making process that will shape the city for decades to come, the public must have access to the contents of the Games Agreement before, not after, the city enters into this contract,” the complaint says.

The union is seeking a court order forcing the city to publicize the Games Agreement before it is executed. According to the complaint, the organization has attempted to obtain a draft of the contract and relevant correspondence since June, but has been unsuccessful.

“Planning for the 2028 Games is coming at an inflection point in the public’s tolerance of the havoc wrought by the Olympics in recent years,” the complaint says, pointing to various ways in which the games will impact the city’s inhabitants.

Los Angeles is in the midst of an affordable housing and homelessness crisis that is “strained by the effects of climate change, and roiling with opposition to the abuse of police power,” the complaint says.

Reports from the Tokyo Olympics, held in 2021, connect the games to the demolition of public housing and the removal of unhoused people from parks, and the Games Agreement is likely to outline how the city will ensure supply rights for official partners like Airbnb, which has been criticized for its own role in the housing crisis, the complaint alleges.

Another area of public concern are the implications of the Games Agreement for policing and security, the complaint says, because “the Olympics have a history of expanding police budgets and increasing the surveillance and criminalization of host cities’ marginalized communities.”

The suit says the agreement may also implicate labor standards and working conditions for thousands of Los Angeles workers.

Causes of Action: California Public Records Act; California Constitution.

Relief: Writ of mandate; attorneys’ fees; costs.

Response: The City of Los Angeles didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment Friday afternoon.

Attorneys: The union is represented by Zoe Oja Tucker and Jeremy J. Blasi.

The case is Unite Here Local 11 v. City of Los Angeles, Cal. Super. Ct., No. 21STCP03526, 10/22/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maeve Allsup in San Francisco at mallsup@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Meghashyam Mali at mmali@bloombergindustry.com

To read more articles log in.

Learn more about a Bloomberg Law subscription.