The Cleveland Cavaliers were true to their word and made sure the project to transform Quicken Loans Arena into Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse provided jobs for Clevelanders and Cuyahoga County residents.
Working in conjunction with the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council and their signatory contractors, the Cavaliers announced they either met or exceeded all diversity and inclusivity goals within the Community Benefits Agreement used to renovate the 26 year-old structure.
Of the roughly 600,000 hours worked on the project through August, nearly half of the man hours were completed by Cuyahoga County residents. More hours will be logged after a punch list of various items will be completed by mid-November.
The renovation project also met the Cleveland residency goal of 20 percent of all total manpower hours, as well as meeting the 5 percent female workforce goal. Other goals exceeded included a Cuyahoga County residence workforce of 46 percent (goal was 25 percent) and minority workforce of 21 percent (goal was 16 percent).
More than half of the contracts executed (52 percent) were with diverse business owners including minority, women-owned and small business.
“There’s no question we are a diverse and local set of unions,” said Dave Wondolowski, Executive Secretary of the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council. “This is our culture and we embrace it.”
“We pride ourselves on doing the right thing, and in our minds just meeting the standards was never an option,” said Antony Bonavita, Executive Vice President of Venue Operations at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. “We are proud that we met and exceeded every project goal pursuant to the City of Cleveland’s CBA.”
Without the support of the Cleveland Building Trades and the help of the United Pastors in Mission, this project may have not been possible.
The Cleveland Building Trades were the first group to support the project and the United Pastors in Mission worked to alleviate the concerns of community groups who were originally against the project.
“It was critical that we had their full support and buy-in,” said Bonavita of the Cleveland Building Trades. “We had that, and we needed them to lean-in more than they are probably used to doing. It was a pleasure to work with them and we thank them for their help, service and dedication to not only this project, but to the many projects that contribute to the vitality and growth of downtown Cleveland and our entire region.
Thanks to the Community Benefits Agreement, a diverse and inclusive workforce of Clevelanders, Cuyahoga County residents and other building trades members helped modernize one of the most important buildings in Cleveland, while helping make sure the Cavaliers extended their lease through 2034.
For Wondolowski, the relationship between the organization and the building trades could not be stronger.
“It has never been better,” he said.
Bonavita felt the renovation has galvanized the relationship.
“While working with them day-to-day, you have the opportunity to learn and respect the challenges they face. In return, I hope they were able to see that we just didn’t dream things up. Instead, we had a plan and tried to provide them the best resources they needed to make it a reality.”