The majority of workers at the new Music City Center are likely to work for outside companies who bid for contracts, according to documents obtained by Channel 4 News.
Nashville's new convention center is expected to employ thousands of people, both during the construction phase, and for day-to-day labor at the facility.
First, came the controversy over the MCC using out-of-state contractors; now it appears the majority of the labor used to service the convention center when it opens will be outsourced.
Channel 4 News has learned that MCC plans to issue requests for proposals for private firms to hire and supervise the housekeepers, security workers, audio-visual department, EMTs, parking valets and other contract labor.
MCC spokeswoman Holly McCall wrote to Channel 4 in an email that this is the same process currently being used at the existing convention center and at the Bridgestone Arena.
Some Nashville labor leaders are concerned about outsourcing the workforce. Wayne Wells is the business manager for a union that represents construction and heavy equipment workers.
"We need a living wage for these people, and some kind of benefits," Wells said.
Top managers at MCC will get the same benefits as Metro workers. Private companies may or may not offer health insurance and other perks.
Wells said he hopes the Music City Center Authority will consider that when awarding the contracts.
"They owe something back to Nashville," Wells said.
The issue of using private contractors also raises questions about how accountable those companies will be to the citizens; that was an issue with construction contracts. The union filed suit to force MCC to release a list of employee's hometowns, suspecting that many of the workers came from out of state. The union is still involved in that suit.
If the construction workers were employed by the city, that information would be subject to the state's Open Records laws.
Channel 4 has also learned that a consulting company is advising the Music City Center Authority to pay its top 13 managers more than the average market salary for the same jobs.
The executive director has a recommended salary of $210,900 per year plus perks, when the average rate in Nashville for the same job is $202,700.
The consultant proposes paying the food and beverage director $123,500, when the average rate in Nashville for a similar job is $107,100.
Copyright 2012 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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