President Barack Obama’s political advisers are pressing labor unions to contribute to the Democratic convention in September to cover a fundraising shortfall resulting from their self-imposed ban on corporate donations, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Democratic officials gave representatives of the major U.S. unions, including the AFL-CIO, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the United Auto Workers, a tour of the convention sites in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 23 in advance of a request for donations, according to the two people, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss internal strategy.
The three-day convention will culminate in Obama’s re- nomination in Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 6. So far, the host committee in Charlotte is roughly halfway to its $36.6 million goal.
Four years ago, unions contributed more than $8 million to the Democratic convention in Denver, according to financial disclosure reports.
The Bloomberg article is concentrating on some of the donation restrictions the Obama campaign and/or the DNC (no diff) made, which is “causing trouble”.
But they seem to have forgotten this bit:
Angered by the choice of a union-hostile city for the Democratic National Convention, Big Labor is still sitting on the sidelines as planning for the big show kicks into high gear.
Several unions, including the AFL-CIO, say they haven’t decided how involved they’ll be in Charlotte. Others expect to scale back. And at least two unions, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO are opting against participating entirely.
It’s not just Charlotte: Unions are also beleaguered by a tough economy and frustrated by the lack of union victories in Congress.
The Machinists were some of the loudest to oppose Charlotte as the host city last year, when it was chosen by the Democratic National Committee. North Carolina, a right-to-work state with the lowest rate of unionization of any state, is seen as hostile to unions and has laws that ban state and local workers from collective bargaining. Frank Larkin, spokesman for the Machinists, said the group continues to oppose the host city and will not participate in the Democratic convention.
Now, the DNC tried to finesse the issue, by having local contractors use local union labor. But there seems to have been a problem:
He was told the Convention was looking to use local contractors to run the project, but union labor to staff it — and then, he said, he was told he would have to sign an agreement stating he would use union labor for the project.
“We asked the question, how do you want to use local when no one local is unionized?” Webb told POLITICO.
UPDATE: The Convention’s Host Committee isn’t denying that some local businesses may have been given the wrong impression, but says it is keeping work local.
“The notion that the Host Committee will only allow unionized firms to bid is categorically untrue,” said Committee for Charlotte 2012 Executive Director Dan Murrey in an emailed statement. “The Committee for Charlotte 2012 encourages all firms to submit proposals for goods and services. The Committee works to have an inclusive procurement process in which all firms are welcome to bid.”
“We put a priority on goods made in America and businesses that are based in the Carolinas, party to a collective bargaining agreement, and are minority, women, disability or veteran owned,” he said.
A host committee spokesperson, who asked to speak on background, also said: “The person who talked with Mr. Montieth misspoke.”
Sorry guys, that’s not a fence you can straddle easily. You’re not going to be able to satisfy the traditional unions, as there are no closed shops nearby. Indeed, you’ve got to get over the Mason-Dixon line before you can get the level of unionism those groups desire.
In addition, unions have been pissing away their money on all sorts of lost causes over the past few years. Perhaps they’d like to hang onto their money for the use of legal challenges.
And I wouldn’t assume that lifting the various donation restrictions would help the convention fundraising. But good luck with that, anyway.