After spending hundreds of millions to ensure they owned the party, Lefties and union members have got to be feeling just a little betrayed after the Democratic National Committee’s convention planners chose Charlotte, North Carolina—the least unionized state in the nation—as the site to hold the 2012 convention. While progressive activists’ heads are still spinning, you can bet that, if union bosses in Washington did not agree with the move, and with other “union” cities in the running (including such illustrious hotspots as Cleveland, Minneapolis, and St. Louis), Charlotte would not be having the convention. So, what’s the real reason Charlotte—a city without a single unionized hotel, as well as a union-free convention center—was chosen?
Well, it could be a purely political play like DNC Chairman Tim Kaine tried (rather unsuccessfully) to spin it to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. However, given the fact that Ohio may be a bigger swing state than North Carolina in 2012, why not go to Cleveland? [That city could certainly use the boost.] Unless, of course, the real reason has to do with union politics and Charlotte has been chosen precisely because it is union-free.
The AFL-CIO Hatfields vs. the C2W McCoys
You know, when one of your main constituencies is unions, having a convention in a city where there are a lot of unions can be more trouble than it’s worth since at any given moment, a feud between unions can cause a very embarrassing situation occur on national TV. Further, keeping in mind that there are two union federations, the AFL-CIO and Change to Win, with feuds going on between the unions in both, it is very likely Charlotte was chosen as a sort of DMZ so as not to anger the union bosses on either side.
Between the cities in the running, UNITE-HERE (an AFL-CIO affiliate) has Minneapolis and St. Louis, whereas Workers United (which used to be part of UNITE-HERE, but is now part of the non-AFL-CIO SEIU) has Cleveland. This has been a point of contention for quite some time.
UNITE HERE urged the DNC to consider only Minneapolis and St. Louis, cities where the union has a significant presence.
While Charlotte has no union hotels at all, Cleveland has them — but they are organized by a rival union, Workers United, which split with UNITE HERE in 2009 after a nasty leadership battle.
To further complicate matters for St. Louis is the turf war over jurisdiction raging between the IBEW (AFL-CIO) and the Carpenters (Change to Win). While it is possible, that the fight between those two might be wrapped up by 2012, the negotiations for the convention-related work that would, by necessity, take place beforehand (in the midst of the feud) would likely exacerbate the situation.
That leaves Charlotte, the only choice that could be made, where there are no unions to fight over turf and no union bosses’ egos to be bruised. Charlotte has become the union-free Switzerland.
Besides the irony that the union-controlled DNC has likely chosen to go union-free because union bosses can’t get along with each other, there is the real impact on those union members in one of the three other “union cities” who will not be getting the work because of their union bosses’ own egos.
Now, ain’t that somethin’!
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776