Virginia Labor Unions Come Out Against Plan for New Caps, Wizards Arena

WASHINGTON POST: The powerful AFL-CIO labor union will oppose a proposal to move the Washington Capitals and Wizards from downtown D.C. to a new arena in Northern Virginia, the group said Tuesday, dealing another blow to a plan that is already facing increasingly tall hurdles among legislators in Richmond.

The unions’ members include hospitality workers who sell concessions at the hockey and basketball teams’ current home, Capital One Arena, as well as construction laborers who might build the new arena and other projects included in the plan for Alexandria’s Potomac Yard neighborhood.

“Taxpayers should not make a massive investment in a project that is only going to create more low-wage jobs for local workers,” Virginia Diamond, president of the AFL-CIO’s Northern Virginia arm, said in a statement.

Several Alexandria City Council members and high-profile state lawmakers — who must approve the proposal for it to move forward — have said they would vote “no” if organized labor is opposed.

Virginia House Speaker Don L. Scott Jr. (D-Portsmouth) said Tuesday afternoon that he had not seen the unions’ statement but noted that the groups’ opposition could further jeopardize the proposal.

“If they’re against it, then the arena deal is probably going to have a very difficult time,” he said. “If it dies, it dies.”Under the proposal crafted by Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) and Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the teams, the new arena would anchor a 12-acre facility financed in part through a new sports and entertainment authority to be created by state lawmakers. The plan would also include new private development — including offices, apartments and shopping — on adjacent land managed by the real estate developer JBG Smith, which also helped draft the plan.

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