Texan4Hillary offers his perspective as a movement progressive activist.
Labor is furious at yet another betrayal by the Democratic Party. This time it’s over the DNC’s selection of Charlotte, North Carolina to be the site for the 2012 national convention. North Carolina is a right to work state and ranks lowest in unionized households. It will be a miracle if the DNC can find a hotel with a union to even hosts events in.
But labor leaders keep kowtowing to the White House for access instead of fighting for workers no matter which party is in power. Time and again union leaders have caved to the White House on things like the public option, a new tax on union workers to help pay for the health law and on and on. The DNC knew they could pick North Carolina and not risk losing labor over it. Something I don’t think that would fly decades ago when labor had more households and clout Democrats feared.
The reaction from labor has been fierce. Note the date of the convention, Labor Day:
The selection was “a calculated affront,” said Rick Sloan, communications director for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
What’s worse, Sloan noted, the convention is set to begin on Mon., Sept. 3, 2012 ““ Labor Day.
“Going to a right-to-work state and starting a convention on Labor Day for the Democrats?” he said. “Wow. That’s quite the equation.”
Publicly, other than the Machinists, major unions have no official comment on the issue for now. The AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, the government workers union AFSCME, the hotel workers union UNITE HERE and other national unions all declined to comment for this article.
Labor sources said the decision to go to Charlotte took them by surprise ““ the Democratic National Committee did not warn them it was coming or try to soften the blow ““ and they’re still absorbing the news.
Here is something not surprising, but shows how frayed feelings are with Obama:
A Democrat familiar with the site selection process said the convention choice reinforced labor’s perception that the Obama administration doesn’t care about union priorities. A push to pass the union-favored “card check” bill after the 2008 election was quickly abandoned, and the administration backed former Sen. Blanche Lincoln in her labor-backed 2010 primary challenge.
“If they had a better relationship with labor and hadn’t told them to go screw themselves in Arkansas, this would be easier to swallow,” the source said.
Here is what should stick in your craw. Hotel labor unions personally asked Tim Kaine to not pick Charlotte for a very good reason. Kaine then blew them off.
The hotel workers’ union specifically asked the Democratic National Committee several months ago not to consider Charlotte because of its lack of union hotel rooms.
The October letter to DNC Chairman Tim Kaine from John Wilhelm, president of UNITE HERE, said Charlotte “should be removed from the list” of convention finalist cities.
“Employees at union hotels are far more likely than employees in non-union hotels to get the sort of basic fair treatment for which the Democratic Party stands,” Wilhelm wrote.
Here is one labor leaders who gets it and takes Obama on:
Angaza Laughinghouse, president of the state’s 4,000-member public workers’ union, said Charlotte’s selection highlights the degree to which the Democratic Party, locally and nationally, has drifted from its stated commitment to workers’ rights.
Democrats put pro-worker planks in their party platforms, he said, “but many of them have not been the best friends of workers. They’re willing to step back away from supporting that platform, these workers’ rights, for the sake of staying friends with big business.“
Tough talk or not? The DNC better hope it’s another bluff, because if labor insiders are pissed enough they could withhold essential 2012 funds to show their anger:
…a labor insider, citing a widely circulated figure of unions’ spending on the 2008 election, suggested there could be some consequences nonetheless.
“There’s something in between sitting out and spending $400 million,” the source said.
One last note. Below is 100 years of Dem convention sites, nearly all are in collective bargaining states.
1912 Baltimore Woodrow Wilson
1916 St. Louis W. Wilson
1920 San Francisco James Cox
1924 New York John Davis
1928 Houston Alfred Smith
1932 Chicago Franklin Roosevelt
1936 Philadelphia F. Roosevelt
1940 Chicago F. Roosevelt
1944 Chicago F. Roosevelt
1948 Philadelphia Harry Truman
1952 Chicago Adlai Stevenson
1956 Chicago A. Stevenson
1960 Los Angeles John Kennedy
1964 Atlantic City Lyndon Johnson
1968 Chicago Hubert Humphrey
1972 Miami Beach George McGovern
1976 New York Jimmy Carter
1980 New York J. Carter
1984 San Francisco Walter Mondale
1988 Atlanta Michael Dukakis
1992 New York Bill Clinton
1996 Chicago B. Clinton
2000 Los Angeles Al Gore
2004 Boston John Kerry
2008 Denver Barack Obama