Cedar Rapids is moving ahead with the local contractor who’ll abide by the project labor agreements for the construction of the city’s $75-million convention complex despite an ongoing dispute with the governor on the issue. The city’s awarding the demolition contracts for over $870,000, which is in direct disregard of the Branstad administration, which recently told the city to drop the labor agreements or lose $15-million in state contributions.

City councilman Chuck Swore says they’re moving ahead with construction. “As the governor pointed out in his letter where he said that was going to be enforced, it said “may” – they “may” challenge, Swore says, ” And we feel that we should uphold a contract that we had agreed to prior to the governor’s actions. And we hope he respects that.”

The governor last month issued a ban on state money going to contracts with project labor agreements –or agreements that favor local unions. Swore says the city was already well into the process when the ban came in.

“We can’t be 15 million short because we’ve already drawn down close to half of it prior to the governor’s edict. So we’re in a situation where we don’t want to see it tied up by political concerns,” Swore says. Cedar Rapids Mayor, Ron Corbett, says they can’t afford the complex without the state’s money, and has asked Iowa’s Attorney General to intervene in the matter.