Friction between Hill and Penguins continues | Slag Heap

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friction between Hill and Penguins continues

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Hill District leaders are calling a penalty on the Pittsburgh Penguins, accusing the team of failing to provide neighborhood residents first dibs on jobs created by a TGI Friday's being built at Consol Energy Center.

Giving Hill residents first crack at such jobs is required by the 2008 Community Benefits Agreement between residents, the Penguins and local government officials. Under the CBA, when new jobs become available at the arena or a 28-acre development site adjoining it, the team must first consider and interview applicants from the Hill District. To gives residents the heads-up, the Pens are supposed to notify the neighborhood's First Source Job Center of openings one week before they are advertised to the general public.

In April, the Penguins told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that they would use the Job Center -- which is open to non-residents as well -- to find new hires. But Carl Redwood, convener of the Hill District Consensus Group, says the early-notice provision was ignored.

"They didn't follow the process," he told City Paper today. While the team has started accepting applications from the general public, "They didn't do one-week [advance notice] for the Hill."

The 7,000-square-foot TGI Friday's, which is expected to open inside the arena in June, plans to hire as many as 150 employees, including cooks, waiters and bartenders.,

Yesterday, Redwood sent a letter to the team's COO Travis Williams. "The Hill District Consensus Group is concerned that the process for hiring new employees for TGI Fridays has not followed the procedure outlined in the Community Benefits Agreement," the letter begins.

"Our bottom line is that we would like for 50% of the jobs to be filled by Hill District residents," the letter goes on to assert. "Even though we have not followed the letter of the procedure set forth in the CBA, we can still focus on the outcome of securing jobs for Hill District residents."

Penguins officials have not returned a call for comment.

This isn't the first time Hill District leaders have accused the Penguins of skipping this step in the hiring process. As CP first reported in November 2009, neighborhood leaders argued that the team failed to notify the Hill District about construction jobs at the Cambria Suites Hotel before construction began that October.



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