Unions cheer Minneapolis City Council approval of stadium plan


As Vikings fans wearing purple and construction workers wearing orange looked on, the Minneapolis City Council Friday voted 7-6 in the final vote of approval needed for a new Minnesota Vikings football stadium to move forward. The vote gave the city’s approval for its part of a $975 million stadium financing plan recently passed by the State Legislature.

“I believe it’s a very good deal for the city,” said Mayor R.T. Rybak, addressing the City Council just before the final vote. “We will disagree on this,” he said, acknowledging the strong opinions and opposition expressed by six members of the City Council.

In the hallway outside the City Council chambers following the vote, a purple-clad Vikings fan high-fived an orange-clad building trades member. “Build it!” the fan said.

“I’m very excited that the City Council passed this and for the jobs that will be created,” said David Ybarra, business manager of Sprinkler Fitters Local 417. He noted that getting a new Vikings Stadium to the goal line was “10 years in the making.”

“It shows what we can do when we all work together,” said Dan McConnell, business manager of the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council. “Together we built a coalition with labor, business and Vikings fans and a majority of the City Council.”

“We never would have thought when this began that we would get a majority of the Council to support a stadium,” McConnell said. “Hats off to Mayor Rybak for his leadership and for negotiating a good deal for the City of Minneapolis and convincing a majority of the City Council that it is a good deal.”

Building a new stadium will bring an estimated 13,000 jobs, including 7,500 construction jobs, according to the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings have agreed that the construction work will be all-union.

The number of concession workers would grow from 700 currently at the Metrodome to 1,200 at the new stadium. Those workers are represented by UNITE HERE Local 17. “I’m happy that it passed because it’s jobs in the future — good jobs,” said Nancy Goldman, Local 17 president.