Unions Find Plenty to do at Democrat Convention Despite Bosses’ Anger


Apparently unions are alive and well and working on the Democratic National Convention, which will take place next week in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Despite all of the brouhaha over holding the convention in a Right to Work state, thousands of union workers are setting the convention up. 

Of course, Right to Work supporters already know that the law would not prevent union workers from working, the whole concept seemed to have unnerved media and Democrats for months now.

Richard Trumka and other national bosses have decried the location of the convention, and vow not to donate their usual majority portion of forced dues.  We’ll see whether that vow is kept. 

Celeste Smith and Lynn Bonner report in the Charlotte Observer.

 Thanks to the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte area union members are setting up lights, running cable lines and driving trucks that haul equipment in and out of Time Warner Cable Arena.

But on a national level big labor groups aren’t happy, and have said they won’t support the convention as they have in years past.

Several building-trade unions were turned off by the Democrats’ choice of Charlotte for the convention, citing North Carolina’s status as the least-unionized state in the country.

Labor donations to the Charlotte convention aren’t expected to match that of the 2008 convention in Denver, when large labor unions contributed $8 million.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told executive council members in a letter last month that the organization is investing instead in grass-roots efforts promoting labor rights. Nationally, unions have spent millions this year challenging Republican-led efforts to curtail unions.

“We won’t be buying skyboxes … or bringing a big staff contingent to the convention,” Trumka wrote.

And union members will fill the delegate ranks in Charlotte. They’ll make up about 16 percent of delegates, according to the AFL-CIO, which is hosting a gathering for labor delegates during convention week.

Jobs for members of Teamsters Local 71 include driving the trucks that move equipment out of the arena, President Ted Russell said. He said the group’s northwest Charlotte union hall is being used as a “base camp” of sorts for convention organizers, who are using the space for a phone bank and to make signs.

More than 300 members in CWA’s broadcast division will work the convention, doing behind-the-camera technical work and other jobs, national spokesman Chuck Porcari said.