Union bosses have made such a big deal about being upset with the DNC’s pick of Charlotte, North Carolina for its convention (even going so far as having an August ‘shadow convention‘) that, while they may be in the state for the Barack Obama nomination celebration, they’re making every effort to make it look like they’re absent.
Adding insult to injury, not only is North Carolina the least unionized state in the nation, the stadium where Barack Obama is giving his acceptance speech was built by entirely union-free labor.
The lack of union support (and money) at the convention is likely why the DNC is giving away free tickets to people from neighboring states to go and watch Obama’s acceptance speech on Thursday.
Although about a dozen of the building trade unions, along with Machinists’ union boss Tom Buffenbarger (of course), are boycotting (and some plan to protest) the Democrats’ soiree, other union bosses are attending the convention. However, they are taking fewer members and a much lower profile than past conventions.
The AFL-CIO’s “scaled back” support of the DNC Convention doesn’t mean AFL-CIO boss Richard ‘The Fifth’ Trumka won’t be in Charlotte. Trumka will be there but he (and other union bosses) will be on the down low.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka will be in Charlotte and is planning a meeting for labor delegates on Tuesday morning. But Trumka has made it clear that the union’s participation will be scaled far back from what it has been.
Even some officials planning to go to Charlotte say their attention will be elsewhere.
Even a union boss from Charlotte is leaving Charlotte during the Democrats’ convention! In fact, the Machinists’ Bill Wise is heading to the Republican stronghold of South Carolina for a meeting, according to The Street:
In fact, [Charlotte local Machinists’ union boss Bill Wise] is so committed to avoiding the convention that he has not returned recent calls from two Democratic National Committee members. “I don’t have anything to do with that,” he says. “I have a prior commitment and I’m not going to go through a sales pitch in the eleventh hour.”
During the convention, Wise plans to attend a meeting of the South Carolina AFL-CIO in Georgetown, S.C. He is vice president of the organization: IAM Local 1725, which he heads, represents Southwest (LUV_) workers in Charleston and Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C, as well as US Airways and United Continental (UAL_) workers in Charlotte.
Of course, as their existence is dependent on government largesse, a few public-sector union bosses are in attendance.
Earlier today, AFSCME boss Lee Saunders enjoyed kicking an empty chair off the stage in front of his Wisconsin delegates.
“Dirty Harry, Dirty Harry, make my day,” Saunders yelled, knocking the empty chair off of the stage.
SEIU boss Mary Kay Henry is attending the convention, along with 80 SEIU delegates, as well. In fact, Henry is even addressing the DNC convention on Tuesday.
Other than Saunders’ tantrum and Henry’s public appearance , as well as Trumka’s semi-public appearances, most union bosses are either staying away from the Charlotte this week, or maintaining as low a profile as possible.
Update: According to the Communist publication People’s World, the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka will be speaking at #DNC2012 after all.
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)
Cross-posted on LaborUnionReport.com
Get LUR tweets on Twitter.