More than a thousand local union members and friends met up at Golden 1 Center last month for Union Worker Appreciation Day on March 5.
Wearing neon green shirts, 1,200 attendees filled the downtown stadium to watch a game between the Kings and the Utah Jazz, with the Kings losing by one point in overtime.
The union event was organized by the Central Labor Council, and included all of the building trades who were key to constructing the arena.
“It was phenomenal to see our union crews enjoying a game inside the facility that they built,” said Building Trades head Kevin Ferreira. “As much as the arena is recognized for having revitalized downtown, it is also a monument to the skill and dedication of our local tradespeople.”
The highlight of the night came when 18 union leaders made it on court at halftime for a special presentation honoring their work. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg was on hand to give plaques to representatives from local unions to thank them for their contributions.
Fabrizio Sasso, executive director of the Sacramento Central Labor Council, said the event, “highlighted how central working people are to the culture and business of Sacramento. This is a union town and a family town, and this game really showed that we have a strong community of people who care about making it a great place to live.”
Sasso pointed out that the new arena stands in the same spot as the original Central Labor Council and is close to the Railyards site that was home to Sacramento’s original labor movement.
The event was the largest private group event the Kings have hosted, with more than $100,000 in ticket sales. Every Building Trades union was represented, along with members of the Sacramento Central Labor Council.
“We were thrilled to host over 1,300 labor representatives and their families – the largest group we’ve invited to a game in Kings history,” said the Kings Angela Walters. “For us #SacramentoProud is not just a slogan. It’s our promise to support and grow our community. We are very proud that Golden 1 Center was built with local skilled laborers and that most of the project contract dollars went to local companies. The arena – and our Labor celebration in particular – will always be a celebration of what makes Sacramento great.”
It took union construction workers 696 days to complete the $557 million Golden 1 Center. The new entertainment and sports center is 700,000 sq. ft., or one-third larger than the Kings’ old center at the Sleep Train Arena.
More than 3,950 union workers spent about 1.7 million hours building the new arena. Most of the work was done by 3,213 Journeymen who worked over 1.3 million hours on the project. Additionally, 655 apprentices put in more than 280,000 hours, and the 91 apprentices who came from high-need backgrounds worked 63,603 hours.
The center, which seats 17,500 people, is expected to host 189 events each year with an additional 20 graduation ceremonies, 27 concerts, and more than 42 Kings games.
During event nights, 2,000 arena employees will be working.
The Labor Appreciation event also helped to raise thousands of dollars for the non-profit Labor Project For Working Families. LPFWF funds union trainings and actions on behalf of the Central Labor Council and plays a key role in helping union members make their voices heard.
Some building trades made a day of the event, hosting receptions and lunches around the game. The Laborers held a private reception attended prior to the game. The Plumbers and Electricians headed out to the old Sleep Train Arena for an event attended by more than 400 members.
“I was excited to help organize this event because it gave workers the opportunity to enjoy a Kings game with their families, especially after all the hard work that went into getting it built on time,” said the Labor Council’s Teresa Villasenor, who planned the event.