The irony is too sweet to let slip by unnoticed.
Our city officials who posture as the great defenders of working men and women and their unions are negotiating a deal with AEG to build a downtown football stadium emblazoned with giant letters promoting a company notorious for cheating its workers.
FARMERS FIELD the signs will proclaim in all directions in letters that will almost certainly make Staples Center’s branding seem discreet.
The naming rights deal announced six months ago calls for Farmers Insurance to pay AEG $700 million over 20 years — enough to pay off the city’s debt on borrowing for the white elephant Convention Center. Except AEG gets to keep all $700 million and public gets to keep paying on the loans.
On Wednesday, Farmers agreed to pay $1.5 million to 3,500 workers at call centers in “systemic violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions.”had engaged in
Interestingly, only City News Service and the Beverly Hills Courier seem to have picked up on it.
It is hardly the first time the Los Angeles company has run afoul of labor laws.
Back in 2007, Farmers lost a federal appellate court case involving a lawsuit it filed against an insurance company that sold it coverage for “employment wrongful acts” but refused to pay off a claim caused by Farmers failure to pay overtime to its claims adjusters in Illinois.
The company’s anti-labor practices go back at least 40 years to a National Labor Relations Board ruling that upheld the right of the association of Farmers agents to have collective bargaining rights and other protections of federal labor law.
In fact, there is a whole website devoted to lawsuits and labor violations involving the company called Farmers Insurance Group Sucks.
You do have to wonder about City Hall’s values when it requires Project Labor Agreements in all construction contracts having anything to do with the city, when it does cartwheels to appease city unions no matter how much harm is caused the public, when it does its best to make life miserable for non-union employers.
But then service to AEG might be even more important to our city officials than loyalty to labor. It certainly seems true of the IBEW which parades its members before the City Council continuously to urge unquestioning support for approving the Farmers Field deal.