Several weeks ago, I told you the story of John Monteith, a Charlotte, NC business executive that had been told his company could not bid on work related to the Democratic National Convention because the printing firm he worked for was not unionized.
The person that John spoke to is an executive on the Charlotte in 2012 Host Committee who are central to the planning of the convention and how things will operate in Charlotte. There are only a handful of executive members of this committee, but John refrained from naming anyone specific. Ultimately, which one it is may not matter. What does matter is how the conversation went. According to John, he approached this person to see why he couldn’t get any traction with the committee.
They responded by asking him, “John, are you a union shop?” When John told him he was not, the Committee member told him, “We were just told that we cannot accept bids unless they are from companies that are unionized.”
In fact, the union pressures surrounding the DNC are so great that there have been doubts that non-union employees will even have a job during the week the Democrats descend on the Queen City.
The mayor of Charlotte, Anthony Foxx, denied that any discrimination existed against non-union shops. The Convention's host committee denied it as well.
“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."
The Convention Host Committee promptly followed up this denial by awarding the print contract to a D.C. company that boasts "3,000 union employee workers" and will only work with companies that are governed by collective bargaining according to their own website.
It's pretty clear that whoever told John he was wasting his time was telling the truth. A quick glance at the Convention's master contract proves that.
15.2. Printed material. To the extent permitted by law, any printed material supplied by
the Host Committee shall be provided by a firm or firms covered by union collective bargaining
agreements. [emphasis mine]
The problem is, unions only make up about 3.2% of the work force in North Carolina and almost certainly don't cover every type of work needed for the convention. Evidently printing was not unionized locally so they had to run to D.C. rather than hire a local shop.
But the continuing evidence that discrimination against non-unionized companies is in black and white throughout their contract. For instance:
17.1. Use of union labor. To the extent permitted by law, to the extent, if any, such labor is available in the region, and except as otherwise expressly agreed by the DNCC, all services, goods, equipment, supplies and materials to be provided or procured by the Host Committee hereunder shall be performed or supplied by firms covered by current union collective bargaining agreements with the unions which have jurisdiction for the work or services to be performed. [emphasis mine]
You may notice that their only reference to ensuring the business is awarded locally is in the instance that there is a union with jurisdiction in the area.
You see, while the DNC has been kowtowing to the needs of non-local companies that have collective bargaining contracts in place negotiated by Democrat donors, North Carolina has a 10.5% unemployment rate and Charlotte alone has an 11.2% unemployment rate.
Luckily, as one local newspaper put it, "Conservative blogs and the N.C. Republican Party are fueling concerns." Those concerns have led to a resolution proposed by NC lawmakers [text below] asking that the DNC respects North Carolina's right-to-work laws and puts the focus on local business, not collective bargaining.
It's a non-binding resolution, which as far as resolutions go, is my least favorite kind. However, there are rumors circulating that there is more to come as, much to Mayor Foxx's chagrin, this story refuses to go away quietly in spite of his recent electoral victory
The Democrats decided to come to Charlotte, NC to capitalize on their victory in the '08 elections which caused the previously red state to go blue. What they don't get and probably never will, is that you don't win over the voters in a red state by pretending to be on their side. You win them over by actually being on their side. This is something that is impossible for their party as long as less than 3% of the dwindling workforce in the state take priority over everyone else simply because lobbyists are shoveling money at them.
Charlotte businesses aren't looking for a handout. They're happy to win the work honestly through competition. To borrow a phrase: "We don't want it all; we just want to feel like we're getting our share."
GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
HOUSE RESOLUTION 151
PROPOSED COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE H151-PCS11270-LB-108
A HOUSE RESOLUTION ASKING THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO RELY ON NORTH CAROLINA COMPANIES AND WORKERS FOR THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION IN 2012.
Whereas, the Democratic National Convention for 2012 is being held in Charlotte; and
Whereas, North Carolina's largest city expects more than 40,000 delegates, media representatives, and visitors for this event; and
Whereas, this event will provide a considerable economic boost to the city, particularly as the unemployment rate in Charlotte is 11.2%, two points higher than the national average; and
Whereas, the unemployment rate in the State of North Carolina is 10.5%, nearly two points higher than the national average; and
Whereas, it is estimated that the presence of the Democratic National Convention will generate over $160 million in revenue; and
Whereas, the City is already starting to undertake significant fund-raising and infrastructure activity in preparation for this event
Whereas, the City of Charlotte has already raised nearly $60 million in funding to help bring the event to North Carolina; and
Whereas, despite the high unemployment rates in Charlotte, in Mecklenburg County, and throughout the State of North Carolina, the Democratic National Convention Committee is outsourcing contracts to vendors outside of the State because it prefers to do business with unionized companies only; and
Whereas, there have been reports in the media of Charlotte-based companies being refused contracts and the Democratic National Convention awarding a printing services contract to a unionized company based in Washington, D.C.; and
Whereas, North Carolina is a right-to-work state; and
Whereas, the City of Charlotte should not bear the financial and infrastructure burden of the convention if a significant portion of the revenue goes to out-of-state firms because they are unionized; Now, therefore
Be it resolved by the House of Representatives:
SECTION 1. The North Carolina House of Representatives urges the Democratic Party to rely on North Carolina companies and workers for its contracts leading up to and during the 2012 Democratic National Convention, particularly those based in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County metropolitan area, and urges the Democratic National Convention Committee to change its rules to respect North Carolina's right-to-work laws and refrain from hiring workers and companies from outside the State of North Carolina when qualified business and workers are available within the State.
SECTION 2. The Principal Clerk of the House of Representatives shall send a certified copy of this resolution to each member of the North Carolina congressional delegation and to the North Carolina members of the Democratic National Committee.
SECTION 3. This resolution is effective upon adoption.