Labor dispute clouds Duluth redevelopment project

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A developer that’s using funds from the City of Duluth to redevelop the Old City Hall is encountering resistance from trade unions for not signing an agreement to use unionized construction workers and pay the prevailing wage.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that developer Rod Raymond says he’s willing to talk with the hope of reaching a compromise, but that contracts have been signed with non-union contractors.

Assistant City Attorney Bob Asleson said that after reviewing city code he found no clear requirement that developers receiving DEDA [Duluth Economic Development Authority] money be required to pay prevailing wages to construction workers.

The city, however, does have such a requirement, and all the BID grants authorized by DEDA on Wednesday will require approval from the Duluth City Council before any money can flow.

The city council is scheduled to vote on the project at it’s meeting on May 9. City leaders hope the parties will find a workable solution before then.

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