EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to clarify which organizations are currently involved in negotiations with the Royals.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals have more to discuss than baseball and a new stadium. They have multiple local organizations pushing for negotiations.

The Good Jobs and Affordable Housing for All coalition is urging the Royals to begin negotiations for a community benefits agreement.

The coalition represents employees who work in many of the same industries that will operate at the team’s future stadium and surrounding entertainment district. That’s why the group is urging for a benefits agreement that can move toward impacting the jobs and lives of service and hospitality workers in Kansas City, Missouri. 

At the same time, Service Employees International Local 1, a labor union, is in its own labor contract negotiations with the Royals for Kauffman Stadium workers that are members of SEIU.

The Good Jobs coalition includes Stand Up KC/Missouri Workers Center and Service Employees International Union Local 1, as well as Missouri Jobs with Justice and the Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom.

Fast food worker and Stand Up KC leader Terrence Wise has said if the team moves forward with its proposed $2 billion stadium and entertainment district, employees should have a say in what their working conditions are.

Two weeks ago, Stand Up KC held a rally at city hall and listed these demands for the CBA agreement:

  • Racial justice in hiring: Hiring from zip codes with high rates of unemployment
  • A wage floor that reflects a living wage
  • A fair process to organize unions, without employer interference
  • Job protection for jobs and union contracts of current stadium workers
  • A guarantee of affordable housing and avoidance of displacement

On Thursday, Royals Chair John Sherman said details of a community benefits agreement with the Good Jobs coalition are premature.

Meanwhile, negotiations with SEIU Local 1 are “normal course” and do not reflect how the Royals treat their workers.

“We are negotiating in good faith,” Sherman said. “We treat our employees extremely well.”

“I think we’ve already settled a couple of those agreements. I think we are settled on wages,” he said about the labor negotiations with SEIU.

The Royals CEO said he’s confident workers will like the labor contract with the SEIU once it’s complete.

“I know they’re going to be really happy about the result,” he said.

Sherman said that during the height of the pandemic, the Royals took manager cuts and didn’t lay off or furlough their workers.

Meanwhile, Wise issued a statement on behalf of the Good Jobs and Affordable Housing for All coalition:

“John Sherman, in a press conference held this morning, said that the Royals expect the benefits to the community to far exceed the public investment when it comes to their new stadium district, but continued to stay silent on what those benefits might be.

“He said they expect to be held accountable to delivering ‘massive public benefit,’ but then claimed that the details of a Community Benefits Agreement, which would allow that accountability throughout the process, would be ‘premature.’

“While the Royals continue to verbally commit to negotiating a CBA, they have yet to guarantee a secure seat at that table for the poor and working Kansas Citians who would be most impacted by the project.

“Whether it’s Clay County or Jackson, north or south of the river, workers deserve living-wage union jobs, truly affordable housing, and most of all, a secure seat at the table to negotiate a strong CBA. We refuse to be left behind — the time to start negotiations is now.”

Terrence Wise, fast food worker and Stand Up KC leader

Sherman also stated that the labor negotiations have nothing to do with the Royals’ pursuit of a $2 billion stadium set to come in the next five years.

“We’re sensitive, we’re listening and we’re hearing the people that are paying attention to us because of this project,” he said.